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INJURED INNOCENCE (?) 

"What you got on me, chief?" is Al's usual question 
when he is suspected of some crime. The answer 
so far has been "Nothing." He is here seen with 
Commissioner of Detectives, John Stege. 



A STAR BOOK 



AL CAPONE 

The Biography of a Self- Made Man 

By 
FRED D. PASLEY 




GARDEN CITY PUBLISHING COMPANY 
GARDEN CITY, NEW YORK 



COPYRIGHT, 1930, BY FRED D. PASLEY 



AL CAPONE 

The Biography of a Self-Made Man 



AL GAPONE 

THE BIOGRAPHY OF A SELF-MADE MAN 



PART ONE 

IN the barber-shop of the twenty and one shaving- 
mugs, Amato Gasperri, proprietor, was inking 
black crosses opposite the names of John Scalise and 
Albert Anselmi. 

"Such nize boys," he was saying, wagging his head 
sadly. 

They had just been taken for a ride, along with 
Joseph Guinta — the dancing torpedo with the chilled- 
steel eyes, who sought to rule Chicago's Unione Sicil- 
ione and its $10,000,000 a year alky-cooking guild, 
biggest subsidiary of the city's $60,000,000-a-year 
illicit liquor industry. 

Old patrons of Amato, these, like those others whose 
names in gilt Spencerian script embellished the cups 
in the wall rack fronting his chair. His shop was their 
rendezvous in happier days. Fast friends, then, cronies; 
some waiters, some bartenders, some street cleaners, 
some owners of vegetable stores, ice-cream parlors, or 
confectioneries. Amato has lost nineteen of his best 

7 



AL CAPONE 

cash customers. Nineteen crosses. Nineteen such nize 
boys killing each other — taking each other for rides. 

He can't understand. As he stood there in his white 
starched jacket and apron, dolorously engaged in his 
pen ritual, the simple-minded little baldheaded barber 
was a pathetic figure, bewildered at the sudden and 
dubious celebrity thrust upon him by the freakish 
twist of the fortunes of bootleg war. 

"Yes," darting a fearsome glance about, and lower- 
ing his voice, "only two left — Johnny Torrio and Al 
Capone." 

He reached for Torrio's cup. 

"I marked a cross for Johnny once, but rubbed it off. 
You remember. Everybody thought he was as good as 
dead." 

He meant the time Torrio stopped four shotgun slugs 
and a revolver bullet in the jaw as he and Mrs. Torrio 
motored up to the curb of their South Side home. 

Such nize boys. 

"Al and Johnny would drop in for a game of pinochle 
or to talk about the ponies or what grand opera they 
were going to next," he was saying. 

Generally, it would be Verdi. The discriminating 
Capone was partial to both Rigoletto and II Trovatore, 
but A'ida was his favorite, and in its opulent score there 
was nothing comparable to the tenor aria, sung by 
Rhadames when he returns victorious from the wars 
to declare his love for the captive princess. 

This reminded Amato that James Colosimo likewise 
had a passion for grand opera; Big Jim, whose shaving- 
mug tops the rack of the twenty and one; who was 
wont to reminisce of his immigrant beginnings, when 

8 




AL CAPONE 

often he didn't have the price of a flop; who started as 
water boy for a railroad section-gang, became a city 
white- wing, and rose to be a millionaire cabaret owner; 
friend of Amelita Galli-Curci, Luisa Tetrazzini, George 
M. Cohan, Cleofonte Campanini, and Caruso. 

Since the March morning in 1920 when Big Jim 
slumped to the floor of his cafe with a bullet in the 
brain, more than five hundred men have died in 
gangster slayings. Out of the carnage, in 1927, Capone 
emerged supreme and unchallenged as Chicago's boot- 
leg boss — the John D. Rockefeller of some twenty 
thousand anti-Volstead filling-stations — controlling the 
sources of supply from Canada and the Florida east 
coast and the operations of local wildcat breweries and 
distilleries; frequently referred to as the municipal 
cabinet member without portfolio — commissioner of 
lawlessness. New York City has a monument to civic 
virtue. Capone is Chicago's monument to civic thirst.- 

To the upright drys he was anathema, to the down- \ 
right wets a public benefactor, to the politicians Santa^X* 
Claus. 

Coming to Chicago in 1920 an impecunious hoodlum, 
in 1929 he was estimated by attaches of the internal 
revenue service to be worth $20,000,000. This seems 
unbelievable, which is characteristic. Most of the facts 
of the Capone saga — itself reading like a movie scenario 
of Creasy's Fifteen Decisive Battles — seem unbe- 
lievable. 

f~"As Manhattan has its roaring Forties, so Chicago, 

/ southward of the Loop and the Rialto, has its sinful, 

l^ginful Twenties. It is here, in the pinochle period of 

1920, in Amato's three-chair barber-shop, not far from 

9 



AL CAPONE 

Wabash Avenue and around the corner from the 
Colosimo cafe and the evil Four Deuces, that the biog- 
rapher of Capone picks up the red thread of his 
career. 

Not then the seigneur of a magnificent estate on Palm 
Island, Miami Beach, Florida, and jolly Faistaffian 
host at swimming-parties in its marble bathing-pool. 

Not then the Loop first-nighter, attended by eighteen 
tuxedoed gentlemen in waiting — a bodyguard out- 
numbering that of the President of the United States — 
quick of eye and quicker on the draw; posted strate- 
gically about the house; rising as one man as he goes 
to indulge in the entr'acte cigarette. 

Not then riding in state along the fashionable Lake 
Shore Drive, the BouP Mich', or Sheridan Road, in a 
specially built limousine of armor-plated top and body, 
with double panes of bullet-proof glass; preceded by 
a scout flivver and followed by a touring car of ex- 
pert sharpshooters. 

Not then the suave patron of the turf clubhouse 
and the dog-track's private box; impeccably tailored; 
diamond solitaires in tie-pin and ring; rose in button- 
hole; binoculars slung over shoulder. 

Not then the Big Shot, occupying two floors of a 
downtown hotel as G. H. Q., issuing orders to the po- 
lice, rebuking a judge over the telephone. 

The unknown Capone of 1920, making a lowly debut 
into the Chicago underworld at the behest of Johnny 
Torrio, was ostensibly just one of the bourgeoisie; loud 
pf dress, free of profanity; no paunch then; stout- 
muscled, hard-knuckled; a vulgar person; a tough 
baby from Five Points, New York City; bouncer and 

10 



AL CAPONE 

boss of the Four Deuces; Torrio's all-round handy^ 
man. J 

Unheralded his coming, and considerable time was 
to elapse before the unsuspecting public and author- 
ities were to be made aware of his presence and its 
epochal significance. For Capone was to revolutionize 
crime and corruption by putting both on an efficiency 
basis, and to instill into a reorganized gangland firm 
business methods of procedure. He had served with the 
A.E.F. overseas in the World War and the instilling 
was to be with machine guns. 

A pleasant enough fellow to meet — socially — in a 
speakeasy — if the proprietor were buying Capone 
beer; a fervent handshaker, with an agreeable, well- 
nigh ingratiating smile, baring a gleaming expanse of 
dental ivory; a facile conversationalist; fluent as to 
topics of the turf, the ring, the stage, the gridiron, and 4 , 
the baseball field; what the police reporters call "a 
right guy"; generous — lavishly so, if the heart that 
beat beneath the automatic harnessed athwart the left 
armpit were touched. 

"God help us when he gets sore, though!" sighed 
a professional man who has had intimate dealings with 
him. "He is as temperamental as a grand opera star, 
childishly emotional." 

Height, about five feet, eight inches ; weight, around — ~ 
190 pounds; thirty-two years old — far beyond the 
life expectancy of the Chicago gangster. Ponderous of 
movement till engaged in action, then as agile as a 
panther. 

He is Neapolitan by birth and Neanderthal by in- 
stinct. A sob sister, seeing him scowl, would reach into 

11 



AL CAPONE 

the cannery for " Gorilla Man" — the flat nose; the 
thick, pendulous lips; the big bullet head, squatting, 
rather than sitting, on the lumpy neck; the scar on 
the left cheek, along the protuberant jawbone; and 
the great shaggy black eyebrows — hairy battlements, 
once seen, not forgotten, lending the harsh, swart vis- 
age a terrifying aspect. 

An amazing figure, this newcomer from Five Points. 
Here was Cicero, a flourishing industrial suburb, thirty 
minutes west of the Loop by the elevated; popula- 
tion, 70,000; thrifty, home-owning people. He was to 
take Cicero, bag and baggage, as Grant took Vicks- 
burg, and convert it to his purposes — only the cap- 
/ ture was to be effected at the polling-booth with gun 
/ and blackjack. He was to install his own mayor and 
chief of police; Capone dog-tracks and Capone gam- 
bling dens were to run wide open, and Capone resorts 
were to flaunt their ribaldry across the way from the 
hundred churches of Berwyn, Riverside, Oak Park, and 
River Forest. 

In Chicago, while his machine gunners roved the 
streets, assassinating upstart bootleg rivals as well as 
saloonkeepers who refused to buy Capone beer, he 
was to be immune from all prosecution — thumbing his 
nose at four chiefs of police as each had his crowded 
hour and issued his fulminations. He was to get really 
serious with one, Michael Hughes, when Hughes in 
1927 announced that he had "chased Capone out of 
Cicero, and for that matter out of further business 
dealings in Cook County." 

"I'm getting sick of fellows like Hughes using me 
to attract glory to themselves," said Al. "I never met 

12 



AL CAPONE 

Hughes in my life, nor have I ever even received a 
telephone call from him. Chase me out of Cook County? 
Well, he hasn't done it and he won't do it." 

He didn't. 

Capone outgrew Torrio as Torrio had outgrown 
Colosimo. The stories of the three interlink into a 
continuous narrative of politics and the underworld. 
Colosimo's ends at the threshold of the Volstead era 
— or when bootlegging was still in process of develop- 
ment as a major industry in the city that votes five to 
one wet. But he founded the system and organiza- 
tion, which Torrio and Capone expanded and improved 
upon. 

Colosimo, the Italian immigrant of the nineties, 
quitting his job as section-gang water boy to push a 
broom in the First Ward, met up with the picturesque 
aldermen*, Michael Hinky Dink Kenna, and John the 
Bathhouse Coughlin. Hinky Dink ran the Working- 
man's Exchange, where for five cents one could pur- 
chase a schooner of beer the size and shape of a 
goldfish bowl. The Bathhouse wrote poetry and wore 
flaming vests. 

They appreciated Colosimo because of his vote- 
swinging ability. Popular from the start with his fel- 
low white-wings, he had immediately organized them 
into a social and athletic club, which delivered as a 
unit at election time. The alderman conferred upon 
him a precinct captaincy and certain privileges ap- 
pertaining to the old levee district, which was located 
within the boundaries of the ward and bisected by 
the night-life whoopee spots of Twenty-second Street. 

The street-sweeper became, successively, pool-room 

13 



AL CAPONE 

proprietor, saloon-keeper, partner in sundry red- 
light enterprises, and finally, Big Jim of C&Lojimo's 
Cafe, 2128 South Wabash Avenue; while the precinct 
captain burgeoned into a ward boss, with patronage, 
flashy clothes, diamond-studded watch, diamond fob, 
diamond rings and stick-pin, and diamond-set gar- 
ters. 

With prosperity there befell him what all too fre- 
quently befalls the Italian or Sicilian who amasses 
wealth — persecution by the American Mafia; letters 
/ threatening, first, kidnaping for ransom, then torture 
and death. He concluded that he needed a bodyguard, 
and going to New York City, he retained Torrio. 

After his arrival in 1910 the persecution ceased. 
The case of three blackhanders is typical of what hap- 
pened. They had made repeated demands on Colosimo, 
which he had ignored. One day they walked into the cafe 
and told him if $25,000 were not forthcoming on the 
morrow he would be killed. He conferred with Torrio, 
and said he would meet them the next afternoon at 
4:30 o'clock under a railroad viaduct in Archer Ave- 
nue. It was a rendezvous with death for them, for 
instead of Colosimo there were four men with sawed- 
off shotguns volleying slugs at point-blank range. 

Torrio lived by the gun. It was his trade. He was 

one of the elder fuglemen of the Five Points gang, 

/ from which, in 1912, Charles Becker, the police lieu- 

" s tenant, recruited Gyp the Blood and Lefty Louie, 

among others, to kill Herman Rosenthal, the gambler, 

who was about to expose Becker for grafting. 

The Five Pointers are smart fellows — cosmopolites 
of crime. He who rises to leadership with them is no 

14 



AL CAPONE 

ordinary ruffian, and Torrio rated a vice presidency. 
He had executive ability, business sagacity, and a 
practical imagination. He was skilled in the duplicity 
of politics. He was proficient in the civilities — smooth 
of tongue and adroit of manner. He had a plausible 
front. And he was young — only twenty-nine and 
ambitious. 

Colosimo, fat and prosperous and nearing forty, 
was smugly content with things as they were, satisfied 
to operate within the Twenty-second Street district. 
Torrio looked far beyond the confines of the First 
Ward to the latent opportunities throughout metro- 
politan Chicago. He saw a vice-monopoly of an entire 
county — and acted promptly. 

Torrio towns sprang up, the first one being Burnham,] 
eighteen miles southeast of the Loop, convenient to the,* 
100,000 workers in the steel mills and oil refineries 
of Gary, Whiting, Calumet City, Hammond, East 
Chicago, and South Chicago. Dance halls, cribs, and 
gambling dens ran day and night, with Patton, the 
famous boy mayor, in charge. 

The automobile was supplanting the horse and 
buggy. The pleasure-bent motorist was a source of 
revenue not to be overlooked. Torrio roadhouses ap- 
peared alongside the concrete highways, catering to 
all tastes. The click of the slot machine, the whirr 
of the* roulette wheel, the entertainer's song, the elec- 
tric piano, and the jazz orchestra made the night 
clamorous at many a prairie crossroads. 

With the advent of prohibition and the closing of 
the 15,000 legalized oases in Chicago and vicinity, 
Torrio was confronted with the thirst-quenching prob- 

15 



AL CAPONE 

lem. He had leased a couple of breweries to supply the 
needs of his own resorts, but the outside demand speed- 
ily became so great and the prices offered so high that 
he found he could make more money selling at whole- 
sale than at retail. 

It opened his eyes to the possibilities of the beer 
and booze traffic. While no man in 1919 could have 
foreseen the fabulous profits of later years, Torrio 
readily visioned enough to capture his imagination. 
He realized that it was the opportunity of a lifetime. 

Hundreds of small-fry bootleggers had leaped into 
\ the new get-rich-quick field. It was like a gold rush., 
\jThese must be eliminated. Torrio, studying the sit- 
uation, was convinced that the only way to exploit it— « 
at least, to his financial satisfaction — was to acquire 
absolute control of the traffic. There must be no com- 
petition. There might be consolidations — ententes — but 
there must be no independent rivals. 
/^In the meantime Colosimo had died, in a murder 
mystery never solved. A lone assassin, secreting him- 
self in the check-room of the cafe, in the morning 
hours when it was empty save for the help, had shot 
him and slipped away. His funeral was impressive for 
the number of State legislators, judges, and city and 
county officials attending. Torrio was a pallbearer, as 
also were Anthony D 'Andrea and Diamond Joe Es- 
posito, Democratic and Republican committeemen 
from the old Nineteenth Ward, who were to die by the 
sawed-off shotgun. 

The policy Torrio had formulated aiming at a monop- 
oly of the illicit liquor traffic was based on ruthlessness. 
The dictum that in the whole of the 932 square miles 

16 



AL CAPONE 

of Cook County there was not room for a rival in the 
bootleg trade could be enforced only with the gun. 
Torrio, of course, knew that. The colossal effrontery of 
his attitude probably never occurred to him. He 
simply saw another business opportunity — a big one — 
and proposed to take advantage of it. The reader musFX 
bear in mind always the point of view of Torrio and \ 
his kind. They had but one code — that of the gun: J 
Might made right. 

Torrio, now thirty-nine, with a multiplicity of in- 
terests^ had, at Colosimo's death, succeeded to the 
underworld leadership. The direction of so many ne- 
farious activities left him little time to undertake the 
execution of his new business venture. There would 
have to be much preliminary work, primarily con- 
cerned with organization. The criminal element, here- 
tofore operating in Chicago as individuals or as 
independent groups, would have to be unified, brought 
under centralized control, disciplined, trained to obey 
orders. To lick this ragtag into shape would be a 
man-sized job. Torrio needed a combination of hard- 
boiled army drill sergeant and field general. 

His unhesitating choice was the twenty-three-year- 
old 'Five Pointer, whom his mates called Al; who had 
quit school in the fourth grade to help his parents in 
the struggle for existence in the slums ; who had learned 
to prowl the streets and alleys with the sharp wits of 
those who begin as mischievous gamins, pillaging vege- 
table carts, and end as wharf rats, looting trucks and 
warehouses. He had soon commanded respect by rea- 
son of his fighting ability and fast thinking. He had 
joined the Five Pointers, to be rewarded with a lieu- 

17 



AL CAPONE 

tenancy. He was a demon in action, whether with fists 
or gat. The New York City police had already ques- 
tioned him in two murders — bum raps, of course. 
Torrio, who had been watching his progress from the 
start, considered him the only likely candidate for 
the job — somewhat wild yet, but having all the stuff 
necessary to put it over. Torrio 's judgment was cer- 
tainly vindicated. 

In 1920, Torrio's income, net, was $100,000 a year. 
He declared Capone in on a fourth of this, with the 
understanding that he was to share a half in the pro- 
ceeds of the bootleg industry. To a man engaged in 
a legitimate line of endeavor, $25,000 a year may seem 
a tidy sum. It was not so for Capone. He was most 
often broke and borrowing from his employer. He is 
an inveterate gambler and prodigal spender. He ad- 
mits today, though, that the happiest part of his Chi- 
cago career was the period of impecunious anonymity 
when he could play pinochle in Amato's barber-shop or 
eat ravioli in Diamond Joe Esposito's Bella Napoli 
cafe without having to face the front door with pistol 
cocked; when he didn't have to wear a steel-plated 
vest; when there were no enemies to offer as high 
as $50,000 for his death — when he could sleep nights. 
Capone is one who will tell you, in no moralizing way, 
that crime doesn't pay. And if you ask why he doesn't 
retire, he will answer, "Once in, there is no out." 

The scene of the Capone debut was a four-story, 
red brick structure, housing 57 varieties of divertisse- 
ment and skullduggery. On the ground floor were the 
Torrio general offices and a saloon and cafe. The sec- 
ond and third floors were devoted to gambling, and 

18 



AL CAPONE 

the fourth to the demimonde. The place derived its 
name from its street number, 2222 South Wabash 
Avenue. It was just south of Twenty-second Street. 
No slumming parties ever visited the Four Deuces. It 
was too tough. Twelve murders had been committed 
there — and never solved. 

Capone's first maneuver was a striking exhibition^ 
of the odd cunning of the criminal mind. He estab- I 
lished a business alibi for himself. He had cards printed, ' 
reading: 

ALPHONSE CAPONE 

Second Hand Furniture Dealer 2220 South Wabash 

Avenue 

Then, in a corner room of the Four Deuces build- 
ing opening on the street, he assembled his stock. It 
consisted of a glass showcase, filled with tooled leather 
novelties and bric-a-brac; a square piano, three golden- 
oak tables; a fernery; an aquarium; a rocking chair; 
a few small rugs; and a shelf of books, among which 
was a family Bible. 

Our new fellow townsman, as has been indicated, 
was rather doggish — churlish — disputatious — inclined 
to belligerency. He was, in a word, crude; a diamond in 
the rough. The urbane Torrio applied himself to pol- 
ishing him off. He instructed him in the social graces 
and in the art of dissembling to conceal one's thoughts. 
He taught him the commercial value of the bland 
smile and the ready handshake. 

The polishing-off process*, was slow. Occasionally 






AL CAPONE 

the pupil would roister. Illustrative of this, is an 
interesting episode — interesting because it marks Ca- 
poned initial bow to the authorities, his first appear- 
ance on any Chicago police blotter, or in the public 
prints, and because it shows his comparative obscurity 
as late as- August of 1922, when the episode occurred. 
Newspapers considered it so unimportant that but 
one used it — inside, as filler. Capone's first name 
was unknown and his last misspelled. The item is here 
reproduced from the original City News Bureau copy, 
verbatim: 

Alfred Caponi, 25 years old, living at the notorious Four 
Deuces, a disorderly house at 2222 South Wabash avenue, 
will appear in the South Clark street court today to answer to 
a charge of assault with an automobile. Early this morning 
his automobile crashed into a Town taxicab, driven by Fred 
Krause, 741 Drake avenue, at North Wabash avenue and 
East Randolph street, injuring the driver. Three men and a 
woman, who were with Caponi, fled before the arrival of the 
police. 

Caponi is said to have been driving east in Randolph street 
at a high rate of speed. The taxicab was parked at the curb. 

Following the accident, Caponi alighted and nourishing a 
revolver, displayed a special deputy sheriff's badge and threat- 
ened to shoot Krause. 

Patrick Bargall, 6510 South Claremont avenue, motorman 
of a southbound street car, stopped his car and advised Caponi 
to put the weapon in his pocket, and the latter then threatened 
him, according to witnesses. 

In the meantime, the Central police had been notified and 
they hurried to the scene, arresting Caponi. Krause was given 
first aid treatment by an ambulance physician. 

20 



AL CAPONE 

The City News Bureau did not state accurately 
the case against Capone. Besides assault with an au- 
tomobile, he was charged with driving while intox- 
icated and with carrying concealed weapons. Any of 
these three is a serious offense. For the last one, in 
Philadelphia, in May of 1929, he was sentenced to 
serve a year in prison. 

Facing all three in Chicago, in August of 1922, he 
enjoyed complete immunity from prosecution. He did 
not even appear in court. The case never came to 
trial. The charges were mysteriously dropped, ex- 
punged from the record. The fix was in. The political 
hookup was functioning. And the hoodlum from 
Five Points was carrying the symbol of authority of 
Cook County's highest law-enforcing agency. . . . 
"Following the accident, Caponi alighted, and, flour- 
ishing a revolver, displayed a special deputy sheriff's 
badge." . . . 

The hookup. The story begins and ends with it. 
The red thread of the Capone career is strung on it. 
Back of the machine and sawed-off shotgun crews; 
nerving the arm of the assassin and the thug; riding 
at the wheel of every death car; exploiting crime and 
its spoils — the hookup. 

In 1922, when Capone was flaunting his special dep- 
uty sheriff's badge, Peter M. Hoffman, coroner, was 
the Republican party's nominee for sheriff, in a des- 
perately contested campaign. The Democrats mopped 
up the county, the office of sheriff being one of the 
few the Republicans managed to save. Incidentally, in 
that same election a proposition to liberalize the Vol- 
stead Act to allow light wines and beer carried the 

21 



AL CAPONE 

city and county by a vote of five to one. Hoffman, a 
wet, succeeded Charles W. Peters, another Republican. 

Federal Judge James H. Wilkerson, in October 
of 1925, sent Hoffman to jail for thirty days and fined 
him $2,500 for hospitality to Terry Druggan and 
Frankie Lake, beer barons and hijackers and Capone 
allies, while they were Hoffman's guests on a Federal 
court sentence. In the hearing before Judge Wilker- 
son, witnesses quoted Morris Eller, sanitary district 
trustee and boss of the Bloody Twentieth Ward, as 
saying, "Treat the boys right." The sheriff had let 
them motor about the city at will and live for the 
greater part of the time in a $12,000-a-year apartment 
in Millionaire's Row, on the Lake Shore Drive. The 
jail term ended Hoffman's vote-seeking career, but 
not his tenure of a job. Anton J. Cermak, a Democrat, 
president of the board of Cook County commissioners, 
put him on his payroll as assistant chief forester of 
the forest preserves at $10,000 a year, which was $40 
more than Hoffman got as sheriff. 

Capone at the Four Deuces and around Amato's 
pinochle table, in 1920, '21 and '22, was meeting an 
assorted company. Some were common loafers, some 
were fellows who still made a pretense of earning an 
honest livelihood; but mostly they were men of sin- 
ister pursuits, who shunned the sunlight to skulk in the 
underworld jungle. They were soon to emerge into 
the open to play stellar roles in the drama of the gangs. 

They were such characters as even Chicago, inured 
to labor sluggers and pistol-toters of the kidney of 
Peter and Dutch Gentlemen, Mossy Enright, and Big 
Tim Murphy, did not suspect existed. They were a 

22 



AL CAPONE 

new species. Viewed in retrospect by one who knew 
them, at the distance of only a few years, they seem 
as unreal as those figures that creep across the imag- 
ination in the grotesqueries of a troubled dream. 

Lined up at the long mahogany bar of the Four 
Deuces at hours when the city slept, one might en- 
counter: 

The six brothers of the itching trigger-fingers — the 
Gennas, whose name sounds like a rattler's hiss, but 
who differed from the rattler in that instead of warn- 
ing, they lulled their victims with unctuous guile. 

Sam Samoots Amatuna, the sartorial pastel, of the 
pale brow and tapering fingers, of whom it was said, 
"He wore silk gloves on his soul"; whose jet-black 
eyes burned like those of a mad poet when he crooned 
mammy songs; who was so delicately adept at putting 
garlic on bullets, so that even if they did not hit a vital 
spot, infection would develop. 

John Scalise and Albert Anselmi — only two, but 
bracketed in gangland's lexicon as the Homicide Squad 
— Capone's ace gunners. 

Vincent the Schemer Drucci, the cop-hater, who be- 
gan as a telephone-coinbox thief, and came to be cele- 
brated in the Capone saga as the Shootin' Fool. 

Samuel J. Nails Morton, who won the French Croix 
de Guerre in the World War; the Man on Horseback. 

Dion O'Banion, the soft-spoken, smiling florist; the 
gladhanding assassin; bloodthirstiest angel face that 
ever trod the Chicago badlands; described by former 
Chief of Police Morgan A. Collins as "Chicago's arch 
criminal, who has killed or seen to the killing of at least 
twenty-five men." 

23 



s 



AL CAPONE 

Earl Hymie Weiss, Little Hymie, always fingering his 
rosary; ex-burglar and safe-cracker; election terrorist; 
gunman preeminent; smartest of them all; who refined 
murder to a technique — a trade for skilled mechanics 
only. It was Weiss who gave to the world the ceremo- 
nial known to the talkie and the press as " taking him 
for a ride." 

Bertsche, the internationally fingerprinted confi- 
dence man, familiar with the cuisine of French, 
German, and English prisons; his pal, Skidmore, the 
pot-bellied ex-saloonkeeper. 

Louis Alterie, the blustering cowboy from Colorado, 
who drew from the hip and twirled two guns, but who, 
when the shooting got going good, was to find Chicago 
too wild, and exit for his ranch. 

Maxie Eisen, the Simon Legree, so-called, of the 
pushcart peddlers; dean of the racketeers; a Uriah 
Heep of hypocrisy. 

The West Side O'Donnells— Klondike and Myles— 
who feared nobody; whose stir-daffy machine gunner, 
James Fur Sammons, was to forget and spray a drum of 
bullets the wrong way, or right at the O'Donnells. 

"A good killer," mused Klondike, "but unreliable; 
we'll have to bump him off." 

Occasionally, Polack Joe Saltis would waddle into 
the Four Deuces; again, one of the South Side O'Don- 
nells — no relation of the West Side O'Donnells. They 
numbered four — the brothers Ed, Steve, Walter, and 
Tommy. Ed, the oldest, nicknamed Spike, was their 
leader ; a devout church member, never missing Sunday 
mass at St. Peter's, always scrupulous to donate $10 or 
$20 to keep the votive candles burning. 

24 



AL CAPONE 

These were the luminaries — a cross-section of the 
melting-pot, Italian, Sicilian, Irishman, Pole, Jew — 
who were to stimulate business for three classes: law- 
yers, undertakers, and florists. The lawyers were to 
profit by quantity production of habeas-corpus writs; 
the undertakers by intense rivalry in funeral pomp 
and insistence on ever more elegant and higher-priced 
caskets; and the florists by an insatiable demand for 
profuseness in floral pieces. 

Truly, it was an assorted company that Capone met 
at the Four Deuces. Many — very many — of the ties 
there formed were to prove lasting. They were to last 
into eternity, and after every inquest, as the friends of 
the deceased assembled for the obsequies, there was 
to be the basket of flowers with the remembrancer, 
"From AL" 

Poor old Joe Howard didn't get any. Naturally. But 
what the hell? They gave him a swell shooting party a 
half-block from the Four Deuces, at Heinie Jacobs' 
saloon, 2300 South Wabash Avenue, and the Big Shots 
joined in. Yes, sir, the Big Shots themselves finally took 
notice of Joe. What more could he ask? A guy can't 
have all the breaks. 

They laid Joe out on a slab in the morgue. No silk- 
hatted, frock-coated mortician for him. No bronze 
casket. A pine box. No granite shaft. A wooden marker. 
Joe is pushing up the daisies in a far corner of the pot- 
ter's field. 

Joe was a bum, a nondescript; what is generally de- 
scribed as an "underworld character"; relic of a bygone 
day, when a fellow who packed a pair of brass knucks 
was a hard egg, and a Smith & Wesson was a deadly 

25 



AL CAPONE 

arsenal. Joe was highly regarded then. He had been 
fairly successful as a burglar and safe-blower and his 
rusty gat boasted three notches, but — "he never did 
any killings among gangland's members because he 
didn't have the guts." 

That probably explained why Joe was persona non 
grata at the Four Deuces — no social standing whatso- 
ever with the Torrio set, tolerated as one beneath con- 
tempt. So Joe hung around Heinie's place, where the 
customers were of a milder sort and where he was as- 
sured an appreciative audience when the Bourbon in- 
spired him to wax eloquent about Joe Howard — which 
was often. 

This new get-rich-quick racket of hijacking and 
booze running that everybody was talking about fas- 
cinated Joe. The more he thought of it, the better it 
looked. Sure, a gent had to be tough to get away with it, 
but that only made it all the better. Joe was tough. He 
would tell the world. 

Loading up his gat, he started in. By way of variety, 
he attempted to rob the Old Rose Distillery warehouse 
at 447 North Clark Street. Sergeant Irwin Holberg of 
the East Chicago Avenue station arrived as the last of 
ten barrels was being hoisted aboard a truck in the 
alley. He literally had the goods on Joe, but the case 
dragged along for months and finally was dismissed. 

Joe had his hookup, too. 

Warehouse-looting proving not so profitable, Joe de- 
cided to go in for hijacking exclusively. Luck was with 
him. He pulled off two good jobs in one night. The next 
evening, over the three fingers of Bourbon in Heinie's 
place, he was gabbing to the boys what a cinch it was. 

26 



AL CAPONE 

It was the day after that that the Big Shots finally 
took notice of him. He was parked at the cigar case in 
front of Heinie's bar. George Bilton, an automobile 
mechanic, and David Runelsbeck, an aged carpenter, 
both rooming in the neighborhood, had stopped for a 
friendly drink and a smoke. Heinie was sitting behind 
the cigar case. It was six o'clock of a quiet afternoon in 
May. Joe, as usual, was talking. The rest were lis- 
tening. 

The swinging doors flapped. Two men entered. 
Runelsbeck's version of what happened, as told to 
Michael Hughes, then chief of detectives, was: 

" 'Hello, Al,' cried Joe, putting out his hand. The 
man he spoke to stuck out his hand, but it held a re- 
volver, and he fired six times. Joe keeled over dead, still 
grinning." 

Nobody now remembers Joe. He was forgotten in 
the underworld almost as soon as he was gone, but the 
killing had a peculiar significance: Joe, the nondescript, 
had horned in on the Capone-Torrio business venture; 
his death was notice that they were prepared to enforce 
the dictum of no rivals, regardless, in the bootleg indus- 
try. 

Thirty minutes after Howard's slaying, a general 
order was flashed to all police stations to arrest Capone. 
Chief Hughes, as soon as he had concluded his inter- 
rogation of Runelsbeck and other witnesses, said: 

"I am certain it was Capone, and I know just how it 
was done. Howard and the other three were at the cigar 
counter. In came Capone and another man. One 
reached over and took hold of Howard's coat, drawing 
Howard to him. Then he put a gun against Howard's 

27 



AL CAPONE 

cheek and pulled the trigger. Five more bullets followed 
the first one, all effective. 7 ' 

A morning newspaper published a picture of Al with 
the caption: 

"Tony (Scarf ace) Capone, also known as Al Brown, 
who killed Joe Howard by firing six shots into his body 
in the saloon of Heinie Jacobs, at 2300 South Wabash 
Avenue, in a renewal of the beer war." 

That was May 8th. 

The inquest was May 9th. 

Overnight, the witnesses were stricken with an ail- 
ment that has since become epidemic in such cases — loss 
of memory. Heinie Jacobs was certain, now that he 
thought it over, that he had been called to a rear room 
to answer a telephone just before the shooting. No, he 
didn't hear or see anything. Runelsbeck, visibly fright- 
ened, was positive that he couldn't identify Capone if 
brought face to face with him. Bilton was missing. 

Captain James McMahon of the Cottage Grove 
Avenue station thereupon booked Jacobs and Runels- 
beck on charges of being accessories after the fact, 
explaining that the action was merely technical. He sus- 
pected, he stated, that they were concealing the identity 
of the slayer. 

The inquest was continued until May 2 2d. The police 
wanted to find Capone. He had disappeared the night 
of the shooting. They did not find him and on May 2 2d 
the inquest was continued indefinitely. 

It was more than a month after Joe got his that Al 
walked into the Cottage Grove station, June 11th, and 
remarked to Captain McMahon: 

28 



AL CAPONE 

"I hear the police are looking fqr me. What for?" 

The Captain hustled him down to the Criminal 

Courts Building, where he met aNvouthful assistant 

State attorney named William F^ ^McSwiggin. Told 

he was wanted for the killing of 

' follows: 

"Who, me? Why, I'm* a respe 
I'm a second-hand fjtfraira^e de " 
don't know this fellow Torriox I Baven't anything to do 
with the Four Deuces. Anywa^ i was out of town the 
day Howard was bump^i off 
talking to my lawyer." 

But the assistant State att^r* 
had a case against him and 
ment. He was new on the job a. 
nothing happened. The inter 
McSwiggin should interview C 
murder rap (serious, that is, 
unwelcome publicity). For 
months young McSwiggin an 

Doherty and Thomas Duffy, V^ere to be mowed down 
by machine-gun fire \ih frontW a Cicero saloon and 
Capone was to be hunted as a\ boss killer. 

The much-continued yder^Ioward inquest — whose 
total cost to the taxpayer^iwas $4,000, considerably in 
excess of Joe's value as a social asset — was finally ter- 
minated July 2 2d. Captain/McMahon was present with 
his witnesses. Runelsbecly aga^mtestified that Joe said, 
"Hello, Al," to the murderer. The captain presented the 
police case against Capone/ Ancji here is the verdict, 
copied from the official records: 



bward, Al spoke as 

able "business man. 
ij'm no gangster. I 



had better do your 

announced that he 
ove for an indict- 
doubtless sincere, but 
ing fact now is that 
one on his first serious 
m the point of view of 
thin a year and ten 
le gangsters, James J. 



AL CAPONE 

We, the jury, find that Joe Howard came to his death on 
the premises at 2300 South Wabash Avenue, from hemorrhage 
and shock due to bullet wounds in the head, face and neck; said 
bullets being fired from a revolver or revolvers in the hand or 
hands of one or more unknown, white male persons, in the 
vestibule of said saloon on said premises. . . . We recommend 
that Henry Jacobs and David Runelsbeck be discharged from 
police custody and further recommend that the unknown per- 
sons be apprehended and held to the grand jury upon a charge 
of murder until discharged by due process of law. 

Joe's estate was inventoried, the legal description be- 
ing: "I pair cuff buttons; cash, $17." 

The unknown persons were never apprehended and 
neither was Capone again bothered. 

If Joe Howard was friendless and obscure, Jerry 
O'Connor, George Spot Bucher, and Georgia Meeghan 
were not. They were henchmen of the South Side 
O'Donnells, whose hookup was fully as powerful as 
that of Torrio. 

For instance, Spike, their leader and oldest brother, 
was elsewhere when the Volstead gold rush started. He 
was sorting hemp in Joliet Penitentiary, having been 
sent down for complicity in the $12,000 daylight 
holdup of the Stockyards Trust and Savings Bank. The 
following appealed to Governor Len Small, either by 
letter or in person, in his behalf, according to the pub- 
lished report of the Chicago Crime Commission: 

State Senators James C. O'Brien, Edward J. Hughes, 
Patrick J. Sullivan, Robert W. Schultze, P. H. Carroll, 
and Frank J. Ryan; State Representatives Thomas J. 
O'Grady, James P. Boyle, George S. Moran, John F. 

30 



AL CAPONE 

Healy, and Michael Maher; Judge George Kersten of 
the criminal court of Cook County. 

The governor paroled him to Senator Ryan, and then 
and there sociability at the Four Deuces ceased for the 
O'Donnells. They tucked up their sleeves and waded in 
to dispute the field with Capone and Torrio out Bubbly 
Creek way, in Kerry Patch. 

O'Connor, himself a former Joliet lifer, paroled, and 
Meeghan and Bucher were the O'Donnells' beer drum- 
mers. Their methods of overcoming sales resistance — in 
common use in the early days of haphazard competition 
— were simple and direct. Entering a saloon or speak- 
easy, their revolvers dangling in belt holsters, they 
would accost the proprietor: 

"Who you buying from?" 

They knew his answer before he spoke, Spike having 
listed each place in the territory he regarded as his bail- 
iwick. The drummers approached only those who had 
not given him their patronage. 

"Well," they would continue, after receiving the 
answer, "how about going along with us?" 

If he begged time to consider the proposition he was 
granted a stay of twenty-four hours, at the expiration 
of which, if the sales resistance still proved stubborn, 
they reinforced their arguments with fists or revolver 
butts. In the majority of cases this procedure was 
effective. 

An exception was Jacob Geis. He was satisfied with 
Capone-Torrio beer and that ended it. A dour fellow 
and a berserk fighter, he had not only failed to respond 
to all persuasion; he had actually bounced the drum- 

31 



AL CAPONE 

mers out on their ears when they attempted coercive 
measures. 

Geis and his bartender, Nicholas Gorysko, were 
serving six customers in his neighborhood saloon 
at 2154 West 51st Street early in the evening of Sep- 
tember 7, 1923, when in walked Steve, Walter, and 
Tommy O'Donnell, with O'Connor, Meeghan, and 
Bucher. 

" We're giving you one more chance," was Steve's 
greeting. "What say?" 

"Nothing doing," said Geis. 

They yanked him across the bar and beat him un- 
mercifully. Gorysko, protesting, was knocked uncon- 
scious. Later, when the two were removed to the Ger- 
man Deaconess' Hospital, Geis was found to have a 
fractured skull. He was in a critical condition for 
weeks, physicians expecting him to die. His sturdy con- 
stitution pulled him through. 

The embattled O'Donnells that night were out to 
show the recalcitrant trade what was best for it. They 
stormed five places where their rivals' beer was being 
sold and in each staged a slugfest. The police learned 
of it when one proprietor, Frank Kveton of 2300 West 
21st Street, telephoned in a complaint. 

Calling it a day after leaving Kveton's, the O'Don- 
nells and their drummers repaired to Joseph Klepka's 
saloon at 5358 South Lincoln Street, a sort of head- 
quarters, to meet Spike and partake of refreshments. 
They were grouped at the end of the bar, enjoying beer 
and sandwiches, when the front door swung wide to 
admit four men, headed by Daniel McFall, then a dep- 
uty sheriff. Six witnesses — residents of the neighbor v 

32 



AL CAPONE 

hood playing cards in a rear room — told what hap- 
pened. 

"Stick up your hands or I'll blow you to hell," 
shouted McFall, and a bullet from his .38 whistled over 
Spike's head. 

The O'Donnells scattered for the front and side 
doors. As they did a fifth man appeared — "short and 
stocky, wearing a gray raincoat and carrying a double- 
barreled sawed-off shotgun." At a signal from McFall 
he withdrew, and McFall and the others pursued the 
O'Donnells to the street, where the real shooting oc- 
curred. It lasted only three minutes, but when it was 
over Jerry O'Connor lay dead on the sidewalk — shot 
through the heart. 

Ten days later, September 17th, Meeghan and 
Bucher, driving south on Laflin Street in their roadster, 
halted at Garfield Boulevard for traffic, and from a 
green touring car that slipped alongside came a fusil- 
lade of revolver bullets and sawed-off shotgun slugs to 
end their careers as beer drummers. 

The late William E. Dever, six months in office as 
mayor, was inexpressibly shocked at the double killing. 
He revoked the licenses of two thousand soft drink par- 
lors, summoned Chief of Police Morgan A. Collins and 
Chief of Detectives Hughes to his office, and assumed 
personal charge of the situation. He issued a statement 
that is highly interesting — that has a definite historical 
value — in the light of subsequent events: 

Until the murderers of Jerry O'Connor and the murderers 
of these two men have been apprehended and punished, and 
the illegal traffic for control of which they battle has been sup- 

33 



AL CAPONE 

pressed, the dignity of the law and the average man's respect 
for it is imperiled, and every officer of the law and every 
enforcing agency should lay aside other duties and join in the 
common cause — a restoration of law and order. 

The police will follow this case to a finish as they do all 
others. This guerrilla war between hijackers, rum runners and 
illicit beer peddlers can and will be crushed. 

I am just as sure that this miserable traffic with its toll of 
human life and morals can be stamped out as I am that I am 
mayor, and I am not going to flinch for a minute. 

It was a brave utterance, by a brave and gallant man, 
uncompromisingly honest and sincere — but it was also 
a futile utterance. The situation he faced that night was 
the rising of the gangs. In the official records, Jerry 
O'Connor's death is indexed as the first killing of the 
bootleg war. 

As well might Mayor Dever have tried to quell the 
whirlwind. Given a trustworthy police department — 
which he did not have, as was disclosed later by his 
own testimony — he could, perhaps, have combated the 
gangster element, per se. Given the United States 
Marines, he would have been powerless against the 
forces that lay behind that element. He could not com- 
bat public complacency — and public demand. 

There were to be nine more killings similar to that of 
O'Connor in the fall of 1923; 16 in 1924; 46 in 1925, 
and 64 in 1926, Mr. Dever's last year in office. In this 
total of 135 gang murders, only six men were to be 
brought to trial, and of the six all were to be acquitted 
save one — Sam Vinci, who chose the occasion of a cor- 
oner's inquest to dispatch John Minatti with a .45 cal- 
iber automatic. His excuse was that John had killed his 

34 



AL CAPONE 

brother, Mike, and he thought the jury was going to 
free him. He was sent to Joliet Penitentiary for 
twenty-five years. 

An immediate result of Mayor Dever's activity in 
the O'Connor-Meeghan-Bucher cases was the suspen- 
sion of Captain Thomas Wolfe of the New City police 
station, in which district the three killings occurred. 
He had been too willing to release McFall, Chief 
Collins believed. 

Capone was questioned. He was a second-hand fur- 
niture dealer, he said. The O'Donnells were fetched in 
to ' scrutinize him, and upheld the ethics by shaking 
their heads. The only enlightenment the authorities re- 
ceived was that Capone had acquired a permit to wear 
a gun. It had been issued by a justice of the peace of 
Cicero, Joseph Mischka. 

Torrio was sought. He had disappeared. His attorney 
said he had gone to a wake. He could produce him 
if necessary. His attorney was Michael L. Igoe, protege 
of the late George E. Brennan, boss of the Demo- 
cratic party in Cook County and Illinois, State Rep- 
resentative, and minority leader in the House at 
Springfield; a commissioner of Chicago's South Parks 
Board; in 1920 an unsuccessful candidate for State's 
attorney on a platform that "crime must be voted out; 
criminals must be speedily prosecuted; the home must 
be safeguarded"; and again in 1924. He was defeated 
both times by Robert E. Crowe, Republican. 

Daniel McFall was finally indicted for the O'Connor 
murder. He went to trial in January of 1924 and won 
a speedy acquittal. The bullet that pierced O'Connor's 
heart was a .32 caliber. The defense established that 

35 



AL CAPONE 

McFall, who admitted that he was in Klepka's saloon, 
was carrying a .38 caliber gun. McFall and two others 
were indicted for the Meeghan-Bucher murder, but 
with the collapse of the O'Connor case, the State's 
attorney's office had the charges nolle prossed and the 
accused men were discharged from custody without 
going to trial. 

The three casualties did not deter old Spike. He per- 
sisted with his syndicate. Apparently he did not know 
when he was licked. Morris Keane, a beer runner for 
him, was the fourth victim. His body was recovered in 
a lonely road, near the Sag Canal. Then Phillip Cor- 
rigan was picked off his beer truck. The mystery of it all 
baffled and infuriated Spike. During one of the numer- 
ous sessions at the detective bureau, he exploded with: 

"I can whip this bird Capone with bare fists any 
time he wants to step out in the open and fight like a 
man." 

His brother, Walter, and Henry C. Hassmiller, a 
gunman just imported by the O'Donnells, were next — 
shot to death in a roadhouse in Evergreen Park, a sub- 
urb south of Chicago. This second double killing de- 
cided Spike. He retired temporarily, and Kerry Patch 
returned to tranquillity and uninterrupted enjoyment 
of its Capone-Torrio beer. 

The central fact in the rising of the gangs was the 
Torrio ambition for a monopoly of the illicit liquor 
traffic. It was the focal point in the reign of outlawry, 
and a debauching influence in politics. As Capone 
pushed it nearer to realization, and talk of the big 
money went the rounds, there was a general stampede 

36 



AL CAPONE 

of criminals to his camp. In the fall of 1923, when 
Mayor Dever's attention was directed to the situation, 
he had at his beck no fewer than seven hundred men, 
probably as vicious an aggregation as was ever assem- 
bled outside the walls of a penal institution. Twenty 
per cent of these were aliens and thirty per cent paroled 
convicts. Governor Small's board of pardons and paroles 
loosed nine hundred and fifty of the latter within a 
period of two years and ten months. 

By the summer of 1924, the big money was so 
plentiful that a word had been coined to reduce the 
conversational overhead. The word was "grand," ab- 
breviated to "gran'." A gran' was $1,000, and was the 
basic medium of exchange. There was, to be sure, the 
C — $100 — but in the vocabulary of the new gentry, 
the gran' overshadowed all else. 

"He offered a G man [government agent] ten gran' 
to forget it." 

"I laid a gran' on the nose in the fifth race at Pim- 
lico." 

The Volstead gold rush was at its peak. 

Affairs were such with the two former Five Pointers 
that Torrio was seeing Paris and other European cap- 
itals. He had purchased for his mother, a peasant 
woman, a seaside estate in Italy — where her retinue of 
servants numbered fifteen — and an automobile with a 
liveried chauffeur. 

The impecunious hoodlum of 1920, who had thought 
$25,000 a year a fairly snug salary, was now disburs- 
ing, in the booze traffic alone, $25,000 a week in pay- 
roll 

Cicero )had been taken. The guns had barked April 

37 



AL CAPONE 

1st, election day. There had been sluggings and kid- 
napings. Voters had been dragooned and intimidated. \ 
Gangster cars had raced through the streets, shooting 
it out with police squads, and terrorizing hundreds of 
citizens into staying at home. Capone's brother, Frank, 
had been killed in one battle. 

This Cicero exploit and the antecedent circum- 
stances constitute a prize chapter of the unbelievable 
Capone saga. E d Konvalinka was a soda-jerker. He 
was cheery and obliging, displaying at his fountain 
tasks an alacrity and a dexterity pleasing to behold, 
and serving his clientele with a nicety of deference 
gratifying to individual self-esteem. Folks took quite a 
shine to Ed. He conversed entertainingly and inform- 
ingly, being a close student of the daily press and re- 
flecting well upon what he read. The soda fountain 
developed into something of an informal forum, a 
neighborhood town pump, with Ed as oracle. 

There was more to Ed than met the eye. He was cal- 
culating cause and effect. He was ambitious politically. 
The soda fountain provided opportunity to cultivate 
friendships. The capital stock of a politician is good- 
will. Ed figured each additional friendship as another 
investment in the Konvalinka future. Soon he was a 
precinct captain, then a leader in ward activities. 
Finally Governor Small heard favorably of him, and he 
was named Republican committeeman from Cicero. 

Beyond that there can be only surmise now as to 
the destiny of the Konvalinka future in the course of 
ordinary events. For at that juncture it entered the 
realm of the extraordinary. Konvalinka had marked 
the rise of the Capone-Torrio combine in Chicago. 

3S 



AL CAPONE 

An idea was born, dazzling in its possibilities for the 
greater aggrandizement of the Republican committee- 
man from Cicero. 

He divulged it to his friend, Edward Vogel, who 
approved it enthusiastically and approached Louis La 
Cava, a Capone field agent. La Cava arranged a con- 
ference between Konvalinka and Capone. The idea 
was to have a Konvalinka ticket. The candidates had 
already been selected by Konvalinka, Vogel, and La 
Cava. They were Joseph Kl enha, for mayor ; Fran k 
Houchek, town clerk^ _TL_l_Bucy ey^lpvm collector ; 
and Edwa rd J. Carmody, town attorn ey. The proposi- 
tion to Capone was that should he accomplish the 
ticket's election he could establish himself in Cicero 
and be immune from molestation by the authorities. 
That, Capone did on April 1st. The soda-jerker be- 
came a Main Street Warwick and the second-hand 
furniture dealer a feudal baron. 

His fief was a typical American community — 
thirty minutes west of the Loop; population, 70,000; 
with Rotary, Kiwanis, and Lions clubs; Chamber of 
Commerce; prosperous banks and industries; a high 
school that rates as one of the finest educational 
plants in the Middle West; sewing circles; a ministers' 
association; sixty-eight per cent of its citizens owning 
their own homes. 

Overnight, Cicero seceded from the Volstead United 
States and went wilder West, and wilder wet, than 
Chicago. 

"Cash game inside; step in," droned cappers for 
the Ship, into the ears of passengers alighting from 
elevated trains at the terminal station. It was right 

39 



AL CAPONE 

next door — a composite of Monte Carlo gambling 
palace and Barbary Coast dance hall — craps, poker, 
stush, and faro — and, from midnight till dawn, a ritzy- 
cabaret. The experienced Billy Mondi was the pro- 
prietor. 

There was the Hawthorne Smoke Shop, run by 
Frankie Pope, the millionaire newsboy, where the hand- 
book play aggregated $50,000 a day. 

There was Lauterback's — a saloon in front, with 
whiskey seventy-five cents the shot; beer thirty-five 
cents the stein; wine thirty cents the glass; and in the 
rear, catering to men and women, the roulette wheels. 
The game here was said to be the biggest in the coun- 
try, as much as $100,000 in chips being frequently 
stacked on the tables. 

There were the Capone dog-tracks and the Capone 
Castle, as ballyhooers on the rubberneck buses de- 
scribed it to sightseers — Cicero's largest hotel, which 
Capone had commandeered as headquarters. 

There were one hundred sixty-one bars running wide 
open day and night. Yes, there were Federal raids and 
Federal injunctions, but when the tumult and the 
shouting died, the "Business as Usual" signs were 
hung out. The injunctions were regarded as scraps of 
paper and the raids as hokum. A saloonkeeper ex- 
plained it thus: 

"When the cops and the prohibition agents come 
here after hours all the time to get drunk, why, of 
course, they go along with us. They always tip us off 
to the raids. An injunction means nothing. When the 
owner of a place is caught by one he opens up some- 
where else under another name." 

40 



AL CAPONE 

In Stickney, adjoining Cicero on the south, were the 
brothels, the form of vice in which Torrio specialized, 
and which he had originally introduced to Chicago in 
his Burnham venture. Five hundred Jezebels flocked 
to Stickney. There were houses with as many as sixty 
women, exceeding in size and number of inmates 
any establishment in Chicago in the days when 
Big Jim Colosimo cracked the whip for Hinky Dink 
and Bathhouse John in the old First Ward levee dis- 
trict. 

A Capone-Torrio agent was posted in each gambling 
den, saloon, and brothel. So thoroughly organized was 
the combine and so autocratic were its methods that 
the proprietors had to pay the salaries of the agents, 
whose jobs were to see that the places received pro- 
tection and that the combine got its split. This varied 
from twenty-five to fifty per cent of the gross receipts. 
By midsummer of 1924 Capone and Torrio were each 
pocketing $100,000 a week. The figures are those of 
government investigators. 

They ruled by the gun. Eddie Tancl, saloonkeeper, 
that hard-bitten ex-pug of the cauliflower ears and 
pancake nose, refused to truckle to the combine. It 
could levy no tribute on him, and neither would he 
buy its beer. He was notified that he would have to 
go along or get out of town. 

"Try and put me out," he snarled. "I was in Cicero 
long before youse guys came." 

He was carried out in a coffin. The killers, Myles 
O'Donnell and James J. Doherty, knew they had been 
in a fight. Eddie Tancl stood toe to toe with them, trad- 
ing shot for shot, and when at last he toppled, he hurled 

41 



AL CAPONE 

his emptied gun in O'Donnell's face and gasped at his 
waiter, Leo Klimas: 

"Kill the rat! He got me." 

Klimas, himself sore wounded, leaped furiously upon 
O'Donnell, but a bullet from Doherty's gun finished 
him. 

O'Donnell and Doherty and the law? Arrested, in- 
dicted, acquitted. Prosecutor, Assistant State's At- 
torney William H. McSwiggin. And the combine got 
the concession for the Tancl place. 

The taking of Cicero set the stage for the real drama 
of the gangs — often called the Bootleg Battle of the 
Marne — in which the yeomanry of the Four Deuces 
swept into action, some with Capone, some against him, 
some for themselves, some for the devil take the hind- 
most. The Four Deuces was a house divided. 

Until then the going had been easy for the combine — 
skirmishing, so to speak. The O'Donnells had kicked 
up the only sizable fuss, and they had been subdued 
with little effort. Not Capone's guns but the wily Tor- 
rio's diplomacy had kept the other gangs in check. He 
had enlisted on his side the badlands' cock o' the walk, 
Dion O'Banion, in 1924 the most powerful figure in 
the Chicago underworld. 

Ever since the inception of the booze-monopoly 
project, Torrio had assiduously courted favor with 
him. In the taking of Cicero, O'Banion had lent his 
cohorts and artillery, his share of the spoils being the 
beer concession and a third interest in the Hawthorne 
Smoke Shop. 

Capone, Torrio, and O'Banion at that time were 
known as the Big Three. There were, of course, many 

42 



AL CAPONE 

lesser gang chieftains, operating almost entirely within 
the boundary limits of their respective wards. It should 
be explained that the gangster element derives its 
strength originally from those wards where the popula- 
tion is heterogeneous or largely foreign-born, and 
either ignorant of, or indifferent to, its citizenship 
obligations. The gangster serves as the right arm of the 
corrupt politician at elections. He delivers the vote. 
In exchange he receives immunity from the law in so 
far as the politician can secure it. In the event that he 
commits a crime and the evidence is so overwhelmingly 
conclusive that he cannot escape prosecution, and if 
witnesses cannot be suborned, nor the jury fixed, and 
a conviction results — then a parole is forthcoming 
within a reasonable period, as in the case of Spike 
O'Donnell. 

O'B anion's borough was the Forty-second and 
Forty-third wards, comprising the Gold Coast, where 
the town homes and cooperative apartments of the 
city's wealth and fashion overlook Lake Michigan. 
Westward, as the river is approached, the neighbor- 
hood deteriorates — rooming houses, small stores, with 
living quarters above, factories, tenements, and shacks. 
It is in this section, by means of floaters, repeaters, 
bribes, and ballot-box stuffing, that elections in the 
Gold Coast wards have frequently been decided. There 
is an old wheeze, " Who '11 carry the Forty-second and 
Forty-third?" And the answer, "O'Banion, in his pistol 
pockets." 

Reared in poverty, a plasterer's son, O'Banion at 
ten was hustling papers in the Loop, and learning 
things from the roustabouts of Circulation Alley. Be- 

43 



AL CAPONE 

fore he was graduated from knee breeches he was one 
of the incorrigibles of the Market Street gang. His 
first job was as waiter in the McGovern brothers' 
saloon-cafe, a notorious place in North Clark Street, 
whose attaches practiced jackr oiling as a diversion. 
O'Banion tried it, but didn't care for it. He decided to 
go in for burglary and safe-cracking. Now, to illustrate 
how effectively his political hookup was functioning 
even at the beginning of his career, and likewise, how 
a criminal is coddled in Chicago, we cite from the 
records: 

March, 1921: Indictment No. 23893; charge, burglary; 
stricken off with leave to reinstate. 

May, 1921: Indictment No. 24752; charge, burglary; 
stricken off with leave to reinstate. 

May, 1921 : Indictment No. 24755; charge, having burglar 
tools ; stricken off with leave to reinstate. 

July, 1922: Indictment No. 28982; charge, robbery; bond, 
$10,000, furnished by J. Braunlip and Titus A . Haffa [alder- 
man of the Forty-third Ward] ; nolle prossed. 

Although Chief of Police Collins credited O'Banion 
with twenty-five notches, he was never brought to trial 
for murder. In 1921 Detective Sergeant John J. Ryan 
actually caught him in the act of cracking a safe in 
the Postal Telegraph Building, but he won an acquit- 
tal with the jury. 

A mile beyond the Loop, at 738 North State Street, 
in a two-story brick building with a plate-glass front, 
was the shop of O'Banion, the florist — opposite the 
Holy Name Cathedral, where, as a boy, he had served 
as acolyte to Father O'Brien. 

44 



AL CAPONE 

Here, in the daylight hours, he puttered amongst his 
flowers, shears or sprinkler in hand, an apron girting 
his mid-section. The passerby saw a man of medium 
height, broad-shouldered, narrow-hipped, lean-fleshed, 
an athlete in build, his small and graceful hands oc- 
cupied in arranging the wares in vases or terra-cotta 
pots for the window display or the racks against the 
walls. He had an unerring sense of decorative values 
in color grouping and varieties. He could twist a sheaf 
of roses into a wreath or chaplet so deftly and gently 
as not to let fall a single petal. 

In specially constructed pouches of his tailored 
clothes he carried three revolvers — one in the right 
front trousers pocket; one under the left armpit of 
the coat, and one in the left outside coat pocket. He 
was Chicago's only three-gun man, and ambidextrous. 

His round Irish face wore an habitual grin. His 
fathomless blue eyes, wide and unblinking, stared at all 
comers with a candor fixed and impenetrable. His right 
leg was four inches shorter than his left, due to a street- 
car accident in his paper-hustling days, and this caused 
him to move with an odd rolling lurch. This and his 
trick of canting his head as he talked produced on most 
visitors an impression of infinite slyness, reminiscent of 
Le jongleur de Notre Dame. 

He was a bundle of inexplicabilities — his innate love 
of flowers; his characteristic of killing without com- 
punction; his hatred of alcohol as anything but a com- 
modity — a stranger to beer and whiskey throughout 
his life; his passionless savagery; his "sunny brutality," 
a psychologist phrased it. To his way of thinking hu- 
manity was divided into two classes — "right guys" and 

45 



AL CAPONE 

"wrong guys." Civilized existence, with its restraints 
and taboos, oppressed him. He went through the world 
like a man in a crowded street-car seeking elbow-room. 

"We're big business without high hats," he told Earl 
Hymie Weiss, after an unusually profitable hijacking 
expedition. 

A gargoyle peered out of the shutters of his mind. 

O'B anion, the florist, quit the scene every evening 
at 6 o'clock and O'Banion, the bootlegger, appeared. 
The night hours were better for beer and booze run- 
ning. O'Banion, the bootlegger, now and again, was too 
villainous even for Torrio. 

A couple of West Side policemen had intercepted a 
truckload of beer and demanded a bribe of $300 to 
release it. The gangsters in charge telephoned to O'Ban- 
ion. The wire to his florist shop had been tapped and 
the conversation was recorded for Chief Collins' files. 

"Three hundred dollars!" said O'Banion. "To them 
bums? Why, I can get them knocked off for half that 
much." 

Which was all the satisfaction to be got from him. 

Headquarters, aware that as likely as not he would 
kill the two policemen rather than submit to their de- 
mands, sent a squad to rescue and arrest them. In the 
meantime the gangsters on the truck had appealed to 
Torrio, and soon headquarters heard their spokesman 
informing O'Banion: 

"Hey, Dion, I just been talkin' to Johnny and he 
says to let the cops have the three hundred. He says he 
don't want no trouble." 

He went gunning where and when he pleased, and for 
reasons as quixotic as the snubbing of a friend. Yankee 

46 



AL CAPONE 

Schwartz, his shadow and man Friday, complained 
that Davy Miller had refused to speak to him, in public. 
Davy was one of the four brothers — the others were 
Birschey, politician-gangster-gambler, once in booze 
partnership with Torrio and O'Banion; Frank, a police- 
man; and Max, a youngster. Davy, a prize-fight referee, 
tvas known as the best boy with his fists on the West 
Side. 

O'Banion learned that he was to attend an opening 
night performance of a musical comedy at La Salle 
rheater, in the Loop. He let him see the show through, 
-hen, as he emerged into the brightly lighted lobby 
ilong with a thousand other first-nighters in formal 
Iress, fired twice. Davy's brother, Max, who had accom- 
panied him, leaped to his aid, and O'Banion donated 
iim a bullet. His belt buckle probably saved his life, 
is the bullet struck it and caromed off to the floor. 
Davy was wounded in the abdomen and spent two 
:ritical weeks in the hospital. O'Banion sauntered 
iway after the shooting, and was never prosecuted nor 
sven arrested. 

The same year, 1924, he engineered the $1,000,000 
Sibley warehouse robbery, in which 1,750 cases of 
xmded whiskey were removed. A Federal grand jury 
'ndicted Lieutenant Michael Grady of the detective 
Dureau and four of his sergeants on charges of con- 
voying the stuff to the bootleggers' distribution stations, 
rhey were suspended pending their trial, at which they 
were acquitted. They were then reinstated and not 
long after Grady was promoted to a police captaincy, 
rhe Sibley profits were used to buy the Cragin distil- 
ery, the largest alcohol plant in the West. When E. C. 

47 



AL CAPONE 

Yellowly, Federal prohibition administrator, was pre- 
paring to close it he was offered a bribe of $250,000 
to let it run. 

Chief Collins participated in another O'B anion ad- 
venture, at the Sieben brewery. His role was that of 
uninvited guest. He had received a tip that thirteen 
truckloads of beer were to be run. He was there when 
O'B anion and his men arrived to superintend the job. 
He then discovered that two of his policemen, assigned 
to guard the brewery for just such an eventuality, were 
conveniently absent. He tore their stars from their 
coats with his own hands. Assistant United States 
District Attorney William F. Waugh was offered $50,- 
000 to prevent the case coming to trial. 

"I told them/' he said, " 'You're talking to the wrong 
man.' " 

Yet it didn't matter. The laughing gods of fate that 
presided over the O'B anion career balked even the 
attempts of the Government to punish him. 

This land-going buccaneer whose Spanish Main was 
all Chicago; this cock o' the walk who strutted high, 
wide, and handsome through the underworld of crime 
and the overworld of politics, was bad news, indeed, 
to the liegemen of Capone and Torrio. They resented 
his arrogance and envied his business success. Racial 
feeling was undoubtedly involved. Naturally, the 
Italians and Sicilians had drifted to Capone and Torrio 
and the Irish to O'B anion. Quarrels were frequent and 
on two occasions the Big Three had to resort to drastic 
measures to avert killings. The animosities thus en- 
gendered persisted through the bootleg war and invested 
it with its international aspect. 

48 



AL CAPONE 

Torrio had not foreseen the possibilities of the Cicero 
beer concession under O'Banion direction. In April, 
when the gangs moved in, it was estimated to be worth 
$20,000 a month. By October O'Banion had developed 
it to a gross of $100,000 a month. He had proselyted in 
Chicago and induced fifty saloonkeeper friends to 
locate in the new oasis. 

This rankled with the Capone-Torrio liegemen be- 
cause he had evidenced no intention of declaring the 
combine in on it. Individual mutterings swelled into 
a hubbub of threats and long-suppressed rancor be- 
came open hostility. The bland Torrio hastened to ap- 
proach O'Banion. 

His proposal was that if O'Banion would split a 
fourth on the beer revenues he would cut him in on the 
combine's brothels in Stickney. 

"Go peddle your papers, Johnny," said O'Banion. 

Chief Collins' "arch criminal" would have nothing 
to do with trafficking in women. 

The saying that everything O'Banion touched turned 
to money was never truer than in his Cicero beer 
business. It increased until it was yielding more than the 
combine's business in the much greater trade area of 
Chicago's South and West Sides. Torrio and Capone, 
brothers of the skin, suavely bided their time. 

O'Banion had given Torrio a short answer and he 
figured that he had provocation. He was incensed at the 
Sicilian Gennas — the six brothers of the itching trigger- 
fingers. They were the combine's alky-cookers, their 
brother-in-law, Henry Spingola, having invented the 
process. They had at first been content to operate solely 
within that field, but with the taking of Cicero had 

49 



AL CAPONE 

gone in for bootlegging and had repeatedly encroached 
upon O'Banion's territory. His protests to Torrio had 
met with smiling promises, but no fulfillments. 

Things were in that position when Torrio proposed 
the beer split. A conviction seized O'B anion that the 
combine was "trying to make a sucker of me." It 
smarted. A few shootings occurred with the Gennas and 
the limit of his scant forbearance was reached. He 
severed relations with the old confraternity of the Four 
Deuces in typically O'B anion fashion — a five-word 
sentence: "To hell with the Sicilians !" and issued 
orders to his willing crew to start muscling in and hi- 
jacking — blithely indifferent to the menace that dogged 
his footsteps, that was to overtake him in his florist's 
shop and present to Chicago an innovation in homicide 
—the handshake murder. 

He was busy, anyway, with politics. The national, 
State, and county elections of 1924 being but two weeks 
away, the precincts of the Forty-second and Forty- 
third Wards were to be organized, as usual, to 
insure victory for his faction of the Republican party. 
One of O'Banion's proudest boasts, incidentally, was 
that he always delivered his borough "as per require- 
ments." 

A dinner during this hustings redirected Mayor 
Dever's attention to the gangster situation in such wise 
as to astound him. O'B anion was the headliner. It was 
held in a private dining-room of the Webster Hotel, 
2150 Lincoln Park West, a swanky North Side neigh- 
borhood. The guest list — mostly O'B anion partisans 
— reads like a roster of the dramatis persons of the 
scene in John Gay's Beggar's Opera, wherein cutthroats, 

50 



AL CAPONE 

thieves, and highwaymen rally round the wassail bowl 
to speed the jocund hours. Here it is: 

Cornelius P. Con Shea, ex-inmate of Sing Sing for 
attempted murder of a woman; in charge of the team- 
sters' strike in Chicago in which twenty-one men were 
killed and four hundred sixteen injured; indicted for 
murder of Police Lieutenant Terence Lyons, but ac- 
quitted; secretary of the Theater and Building Janitors' 
Union. 

Frank Gusenberg of the four aliases; burglar, rob- 
ber, and stickup; brother of Peter Gusenberg, who 
served time in Joliet Penitentiary and Fort Leaven- 
worth for complicity in the Polk Street station $400,000 
mail robbery. 

Two- Gun Louis Alterie, partner of O'B anion in 
booze, beer, and gambling deals, and president of the 
Theater and Building Janitors' Union. 

Maxie Eisen, the Simon Legree of the pushcart ped- 
dlers; associated with O'Banion in the Cragin distillery. 

Jerry O'Connor, Loop gambling-house proprietor and 
vice president of the Theater and Building Janitors' 
Union. 

William Scott Stewart, a former assistant State's at- 
torney, and counsel for Alterie. 

Vincent the Schemer Drucci, erstwhile telephone- 
coin-box thief; crook and beer runner. 

Earl Hymie Weiss, ex-burglar and safe-cracker, who 
motorized murder. 

Into this assemblage was ushered Colonel Albert A. 
Sprague, Harvard graduate; wealthy; a distinguished 
civic personage; commissioner of public works in the 
Dever administration. He was the Democratic nominee 

51 



UNIVERSITY. 0B 
ILLINOIS L/rpmsw 



AL CAPONE 

for United States Senator against Charles S. Deneen. 

With him were County Clerk Robert M. Sweitzer, 
unsuccessful candidate for mayor of Chicago on the 
Democratic ticket in 1911, 1915, and 1919, Chief of 
Detectives Michael Hughes, and Police Lieutenant 
Charles Egan. 

Colonel Sprague delivered a talk and sat down with 
the gunmen, as did Mr. Sweitzer and the others. There 
was a copious flow of pre-war Scotch, wine, and beer. 
The dining-room was decorated with the national colors, 
festoons of tissue streamers in red, white, and blue. 

Jerry O'Connor, the union's vice president, received 
a $2,500 diamond stick-pin, O'Banion a $1,500 plati- 
num wrist-watch — and Alterie almost shot a waiter. 

The gargons, as is customary, had chosen one of their 
number to pass the hat for tips. Alterie wasn't aware 
of what was coming off until the collector approached 
his table. He whipped out his two guns and vociferated: 

"Hey, you, none of that racket stuff goes here!" 
Then to the diners, "Shall I kill him?" 

"Naw, let him suffer," chortled O'Banion, and Alterie 
dismissed him with a playful whack on the head. 

The only O'Banion notable Colonel Sprague didn't | 
meet that night was Samuel J. Nails Morton, dude and 
front man of the North Side gang, who had won the 
French Croix de Guerre for leading a squad of the 131st 
Illinois Infantry over the top after he had been twice 
wounded. He returned home a first lieutenant. In 1921 
he and Hirschey Miller killed a couple of policemen in 
a black-and-tan cafe. Twice they faced a jury and 
twice they shook hands with their twelve peers. 

Nails was a well-known figure on the Lincoln Park 

52 






AL CAPONE 

bridle paths, where the city's best people do their horse- 
back riding. He liked mettlesome steeds. A stirrup 
leather broke during a morning canter and he was 
thrown and kicked to death. 

Alterie, cogitating this, called at the stables and 
rented Nails' mount, ostensibly for a ride. 

"We taught that horse of yours a lesson," he 

telephoned three hours later. "If you want the saddle 
go and get it." 

He had shot the animal. 

The mayor ordered Hughes to explain his presence 
at the O'B anion dinner. What he said to Colonel 
Sprague is not of record. Hughes' explanation was 
that he had been told that it was to be just a party for 
Jerry O'Connor, but that when he arrived and "recog- 
nized a number of notorious characters I had thrown 
into the detective bureau basement a half-dozen times 
I knew I had been framed, and withdrew almost at 
once." 

Hughes was only an incident of a situation, which, as 
in 1923, was beyond the mayor's control. He was up 
against the system. Its contact with the criminal ele- 
ment, which prior to 1924 had been maintained with 
more or less stealth, took a social turn that year, assum- 
ing the form of testimonial dinners, at which politicians 
fraternized cheek by jowl with gangsters, openly, in the 
big downtown hotels. The lavish ostentatiousness and 
general prodigality of these repasts inspired a clergy- 
man to refer to them as "Belshazzar feasts." They be- 
came an institution of the Chicago scene and marked 
the way to the moral and financial collapse of the 
municipal and county governments in 1928-29. 

53 



AL CAPONE 

As for Colonel Sprague's vote-seeking expedition into 
O'Banion's borough, it was barren of results. Mr. 
Deneen's plurality in the Forty-second and Forty- 
third Wards was 5,938. He polled 17,327 votes to 
Colonel Sprague's 11,389. State's Attorney Robert E. 
Crowe's plurality over Michael L. Igoe, Torrio's counsel 
in the O'Connor-Bucher-Meeghan slayings, was even 
greater — 9,315. The two wards gave Mr. Crowe 18,- 
961 votes and Mr. Igoe 9,646. 

That was November 4th. O'Banion was still boasting 
of it on November 10th, when Carmen Vacco, city 
sealer, and James Genna, of the six brothers, came in 
to buy flowers for the funeral of Mike Merlo, founder 
and president of the Unione Sicilione, who had died a 
natural death. 

"I turned the trick," O'Banion chuckled. He was in 
high spirits, chock-full of banter, with the Irish grin 
working overtime. 

Vacco, whom Merlo had put in office, gave O'Banion 
a $750 order. They were sparing no expense on Mike. 
A local sculptor had been commissioned to mold a life- 
sized wax effigy of him. It cost $5,000 and in the proces- 
sion to the cemetery occupied a touring car, preceding 
the hearse. 

Telling O'Banion to remain in the shop, as others of 
Merlo's friends would be in for flowers, Vacco and 
Genna left. Sure enough, within five minutes, the 
telephone rang and a masculine voice conveyed 
the information that the customers were on their way 
over. 

O'Banion was in the rear of the shop, which was 
divided by a partition, clipping the stems of a bunch of 

54 






AL CAPONE 

chrysanthemums. With him was William Crutchfield, 
a negro porter. It was the noon hour. 

A blue Jewett sedan, headed south, stopped, with 
engine idling, at the curb, directly opposite the entrance. 
It contained four men. One stayed at the wheel. Three 
alighted. Once in the shop they walked abreast. The 
man in the center was tall, well built, smooth-shaven, 
wearing a brown overcoat and a brown fedora hat. 
The other two were short and stocky. 

O'Banion was saying to Crutchfield, "The floor is 
littered with leaves and petals, Bill. Better brush them 
up." He heard the customers enter and went to the 
front of the shop. 

"Hello, boys! You from Mike Merlo's?" was his 
greeting. In his left hand he held his florist's shears. 
His right was extended. 

"Yes," replied the center man, grasping the extended 
right. 

This much Crutchfield witnessed, having swept up 
the litter and passing the swinging door, then partly 
open, at that moment. The rest he heard. 

One, two, three, four, five, six times the guns spoke — 
two bullets in the right breast; a third through the 
larynx; a fourth to the left of it a bit; a fifth in the 
right cheek. The five were fired within as many seconds. 
There was a pause before the sixth. It was the finish 
shot, to make certain of the job. It was fired into the 
left cheek as O'Banion lay sprawled among his flowers. 
The revolver was held so close that the skin was 
powder-burned. 

The center man had held O'Banion's right in a vise- 
like grip while the man on his left did the shooting. 

55 



AL CAPONE 

The man on his right, presumably, had imprisoned 
O'B anion's left to prevent his drawing his emergency 
revolver. Obviously it had all been carefully rehearsed. 
The sedan had been driven around the corner and was 
headed west in Superior Street. Leaving the shop, the 
three ran to it, jumped in, and were whirled away. And 
soon the word was passing in speakeasies and club 
lounges : 

"Deany's been bumped off." 

Thus was the handshake murder introduced to Chi- 
cago. There were but two witnesses — Crutchfield, and 
an eleven-year-old schoolboy, Gregory Summers, sta- 
tioned during the noon hour at North State Street 
and East Chicago Avenue, a hundred yards distant, as 
a junior traffic officer. He heard several shots, he said, 
and saw three men run out of the shop. "Two of them 
were dark and they looked like foreigners. The other 
man had a light complexion." Crutchfield, who had a 
close-up view, said that the center or tall man, "might 
have been a Jew or Greek, but the other two were 
Italians." 

Today, more than five years after, the one contribu- 
tion toward a solution of the crime is the deduction 
made by Captain William Schoemaker of the detective 
bureau — "Old Shoes," — tough as mulehide, crotchety 
as a grizzly with a sore tooth, hated, feared, probably 
the greatest copper ever produced by the Chicago police 
department. 

"Crutchfield's story," said he, "is that O'Banion went 
to meet the three men, holding the shears in his left 
hand, his right extended. 

"O'Banion, above all things, knew he was marked for 

56 






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THE SMILING FLORIST 
One of the few pictures of Dion O'Banion, taken while 
ruling the North Side gang. He carried three 
guns but died without a chance to use any. 




POLICE PROTECTION! 

Nothing extraordinary about Capone's Chicago 

home at 7244 Prairie Avenue. The police car 

waited for his appearance after his release from 

a Pennsylvania Penitentiary. He didn't show up. 



AL CAPONE 

death. He knew it might come at any moment. Ordi- 
narily, when talking to strangers, he stood with feet 
apart, the right hand on the hip, thumb to rear and 
fingers down in front. The left was usually in his coat 
pocket. In this position he was ready for instant action 
with the automatics in the specially tailored pockets. 

"But we have him advancing to meet these fellows 
without hesitation — his right hand extended. He felt 
safe. He knew them — at least by sight — and did not 
suspect them." 

Further than that the investigation could not pro- 
gress. It encountered "the inevitable Italian wall of si- 
lence." 

Torrio, Capone, and the Gennas were questioned. 

"The day before he was killed I gave him an order 
for $10,000 worth of flowers," said Torrio. "Our boys 
wanted to send some floral pieces to Mike Merlo's 
house and we all chipped in and gave the business to 
Dion." 

Cook County's coroner finally wrote it off, "Slayers 
not apprehended. John Scalise and Albert Anselmi and 
Frank Yale [of New York City, since killed] suspected, 
but never brought to trial." 

The gangster funeral era dates from the O'B anion 
obsequies. He was laid out in a $10,000 casket, bought 
in the East and shipped to Chicago in a special ex- 
press freight car. A sob sister described it as "equipped 
with solid silver and bronze double walls, inner sealed 
and air tight, with heavy plate glass above and a couch 
of white satin below, with tufted cushion extra for his 
left hand to rest on; at the corners, solid silver posts, 
carved in wonderful designs." 

57 



AL CAPONE 

The remains were exhibited for three days at the 
undertaking establishment of John A. Sbarbaro, 708 
North Wells Street. Mr. Sbarbaro was also an assistant 
State's attorney, he and William H. McSwiggin rep- 
resenting Mr. Crowe's office in most of the gangster- 
killing inquiries. A glimpse of the scene in Mr. 
Sbarbaro's mortuary chapel is afforded us by another 
sob sister: 

" Silver angels stood at the head and feet with their 
heads bowed in the light of ten candles that burned 
in solid golden candlesticks they held in their hands. 
Beneath the casket, on the marble slab that supports 
its glory, is the inscription, 'Suffer little children to 
come unto me.' And over it all the perfume of flowers." 

Mounted police cleared the streets the day of the 
funeral. Plain-clothes men mingled with the mourners 
and cautioned them against indiscriminate use of fire- 
arms. There were twenty-six truckloads of flowers — 
$50,000 worth. Feature pieces were a heart of American 
Beauty roses, standing eight feet high; a blanket of 
roses, orchids, and lilies, measuring seven by ten feet, 
sent to cover the grave at Mount Carmel ; an arch from 
which swung two white peace doves; a huge wreath 
from the Teamsters' Union; and a basket of roses 
labeled, "From AL" 

Torrio and Capone steeled themselves to attend the 
services. They knew what the O'Banions were think- 
ing. They did not dare stay away. They sat opposite 
George Bugs Moran, Earl Hymie Weiss, and Vincent 
the Schemer Drucci at the mortuary chapel; rode with 
them to the cemetery; faced them across the grave 
at the cemetery. Then Torrio fled the city, with the 

58 



AL CAPONE 

O'Banions in pursuit, trailing him to Hot Springs, 
Arkansas, to New Orleans, to the Bahamas and 
to Cuba, then back again to the United States; finally 
overtaking and shooting him down in the presence of 
his wife, in front of his Chicago home. So Torrio fades 
from the picture and Capone alone remains, in the role 
of General Al the Scar face. 

O'Banion's death marked the beginning of the real 
Bootleg Battle of the Marne. Madison Street, extend- 
ing westward from Lake Michigan and the Loop, and 
bisecting the geographical center of the city, was No 
Man's Land. Across it, the struggle deadlocked back 
and forth for four years and three months — from 
November of 1924 until February 14, 1929, when the 
killing of seven O'Banions in a North Clark Street 
garage (the Moran gang massacre) led to a truce. 

In the fullest sense, it was a war for commercial 
supremacy. Capone 's two chief objectives were the 
crushing of the O'Banions on the North Side — and 
their allies on other sectors — and control of the Unione 
Sicilione (the alky cooking-guild), Golden Fleece of 
prohibition Chicago. It comprises some 15,000 Sicilians, 
disciplined like an army; implacable of purpose; swift 
and silent of deed; the Mafia of Italy transplanted to 
the United States. Capone 's ambition here caused 
endless bloodshed. Every man aspiring to its presidency 
died by the gun. The record is: 

Angelo Genna, one of the six brothers, who sought 
to succeed Mike Merlo; killed May 26, 1925. 

Samuel Samoots Amatuna, the next aspirant; killed 
October 13, 1925. 

Antonio Lombardo, killed September 7, 1928. 

59 



AL CAPONE 

Pasquale Lolordo, who succeeded Lombardo; killed 
January 8, 1929. 

Joseph Guinta, killed May 8, 1929. 

No matter. Ever in the background loomed the figure 
of General Al the Scarface, seeing to it that out of the 
slaughter there should arise a Capone man to head the 
Unione. One always did. 

By the fall of 1927 the Torrio dream of a booze 
monopoly was an actuality. Capone altogether com- 
manded the sources of a revenue estimated by govern- 
ment investigators at $105,000,000 a year, divided as 
follows : 

Beer and liquor, including alky-cooking $60,000,000 

Gambling establishments and dog-tracks 25,000,000 

Vice, dance halls, roadhouses, and other resorts 10,000,000 

Rackets 10,000,000 

Of this, the take by police, city and county politicians, 
and dry agents was, of course, enormous. In addition 
there were legitimate expenses, such as the payrolls of 
the booze syndicate. No accurate estimate is possible 
as to the amount Capone was pocketing, but those in his 
confidence have put it at $30,000,000. Yet: 

"If I had known," said Capone, the time they tried 
to bribe the chef in the Little Italy cafe to put prussic 
acid in his soup-, "what I was stepping into in Chicago 
I never would have left the Five Points outfit." 

There have been more attempts upon his life than 
upon that of any other gangster. He is the most-shot-at 
man in America. Except for the interlude in Eastern 
Penitentiary there has not been a second's peace of 
mind for 'him. Days he lived in an armored car; nights 

60 






AL CAPONE 

he slept with sentinels at his door. In 1927 there was 
posted an offer of $50,000 to any gunman who would 
accomplish his death. For all this writer knows the offer 
still stands. 

After their chief's funeral, the O'Banions launched a 
furious offensive, whose climax was a daylight attack 
on Capone's suburban stronghold by eight carloads of 
machine-gun squads and sawed-off shotgun crews. 
Operating with soldierly precision, they poured a thou- 
sand slugs and bullets into a block of restaurants, 
shops, and hotels. 

"This is war/' editorialized a Chicago newspaper. 

Nothing like it was ever known before in an Ameri- 
can community in peace-time. 



61 



PART TWO 

THERE were four Al Capones: 
Al, the feudal baron of Cicero. 

Al, the Michigan Avenue business man — booze and 
racketeer boss. 

Al, the seigneur of a Florida estate. 

Al, the home boy. 

In Cicero, his abode was the Hawthorne Hotel, a 
three-story brick structure — really a garrison — with 
steel-shuttered windows and a heavily stocked arsenal 
at 4823 West Twenty-second Street, the central block 
of the suburb's main-stem thoroughfare. It was the 
Hawthorne that rubberneck bus ballyhooers called 
"the Capone Castle." 

Entrance was through a passageway, twenty-five feet 
long, opening off the street, leading to the lobby, which 
was quadrangular in form. The chairs, settees, lounges 
— all the furniture, in fact, including the clerk's desk, 
the telephone switchboard and the cigar counter — were 
so arranged as to front on the passageway. The visitor, 
therefore, found himself in the center of a kind of 
stage, undergoing a visual onslaught. His coming had 
been tipped off by a lookout at the street door who had 
pressed a warning buzzer. 

There were never fewer than a dozen ostensible idlers 
in the lobby — fellows with indigo-stippled chins and 
eyes as expressionless as those of a dead mackerel; 

62 



AL CAPONE 

the Capone bodyguard. They gazed from behind news- 
papers and through a haze of cigarette smoke amid 
a silence that was ear-splitting. The bellhops, the room 
clerk, and the girl at the telephone switchboard were 
on the Capone payroll. 

Here, as securely entrenched as in a fortress, Capone 
directed the bootleg war, as well as his various Cicero 
enterprises. Aside from vice, gambling, and booze, the 
chief of these was the Hawthorne Kennel Club dog- 
tracks, a $500,000 project, with four hundred grey- 
hounds to chase the electric rabbit. 

Here, too, he indulged his hobby — passion, rather — 
of crap shooting. The Italians have a phrase for great 
art, "U poco piii," meaning "the little more." Capone 
addressing the dice in a hot crap game, coatless, vest- 
less, collarless, the floor littered with greenbacks, was 
indisputably il poco piii. He scaled the dramatic heights 
with his colloquies and pantomime. 

Thespis could not approach the feeling with which, 
on hands and knees, he supplicated fickle, capricious 
Phoebe, or wheedled Little Joe from Decatur, or brow- 
beat Big Dick. The pathos registered at Box Cars, 
Snake Eyes, or Two Rolls and No Coffee, was heart- 
rending. 

He thought in terms of the gran' — a thousand dollars 
— and never made a pass for under that amount except 
when his guests included persons "not in the bucks." 
The dice sessions often lasted all night and through to 
noon of the following day. The winnings did not interest 
Capone. It was the excitement. He was a gambling 
addict. 

The bookies gloated when he hove in sight. He was 

63 



AL CAPONE 

their meat. He would bet as high as $100,000 on a 
horse-race. He seldom played them across the board. 
He liked to "slap it on the nose." He was gullible as 
,to sure things. If a tout happened to pick one that 
came in he would toss him a gran'. He estimated in 
1929 that he had lost close to $10,000,000 to the bookies 
since coming to Chicago nine years before. His I. O. U. 
was par at any racetrack. In New Orleans after a losing 
day he wrote one for $500,000 and it was accepted 
without question. 

But the stock market has yet to wean a dollar from 
him. 

"It's a racket," says he. 

Because of its distance from the city, the Hawthorne 
provided a discreet rendezvous for politicians, and so 
it was here that Capone entertained and conferred 
with Chicago and Cook County officialdom. The cen- 
sorious were so unkind as to refer to it as his remote 
control. His election-eve dinners were famous — modern 
editions of the feasts of Lucullus — invitations to which 
were covetously regarded by the local Catos and 
Marcus Aureliuses. 

Assistant State's Attorney William H. McSwiggin, 
who prosecuted John Scalise and Albert Anselmi at 
the first of their three trials for the murder of Police 
Officers Harold F. Olson and Charles B. Walsh, was 
not unfamiliar with his hospitality. 

"Little Mac, a great friend of mine," said Capone. 
"Always trying to help somebody. I was talking to 
him in my hotel just before he was shot." 

He meant the night McSwiggin was killed in com- 

64 



AL CAPONE 

pany with two beer gangsters who had been trying to 
muscle in on Capone territory. 

This is by way of preface to the occasion when Ca- 
pone is generally conceded to have eclipsed his own 
record as genial host. It was the dinner celebrating the 
final acquittal of Scalise and Anselmi. A hundred 
thousand dollars had been spent in defense of his two 
ace killers. The case had dragged along, due to crafty 
legal tactics, for two years. The public furor had abated. 
The third jury had returned a jig-time verdict that 
Scalise and Anselmi had only defended themselves 
against unwarranted police aggression. Gangland had 
scored another victory. 

The affair was exclusive. There were not more than 
a hundred present, but they were the Who's Who of 
later coroner's inquests — Antonio Lombardo, who as- 
sumed the presidency of the Unione Sicilione, always 
fatal; Pasquale Lolordo, who succeeded him, and fol- 
lowed him to the cemetery; Joseph Guinta, the dancing 
torpedo with the chilled-steel eyes; Anthony Ferraro, 
one of Lombardo's bodyguard; Hughey Stubby Mc- 
Govern, William Gunner McPadden, and Theodore 
Tony the Greek Anton, who ran the restaurant above 
the Smoke Shop, Capone gambling joint operated by 
Frankie Pope, millionaire newsie. 

Scalise and Anselmi, of course, were the lions of the 
evening. They sat at the speakers' table, drinking many 
toasts to the jury that freed them. The jubilation was 
hysterical. The only outsider there was a professional 
man, who attended as Capone's guest. His description, 
verbatim, was: 

65 



AL CAPONE 

"If the dinner cost a jitney it cost $25,000. 1 have sat 
in at many political love feasts where wine flowed, but 
never, never as at this party. It was a deluge. At the 
climax of the festivities, the guests staged a sham 
battle with champagne, uncorking bottles by the case 
and letting the contents fly at one another. Wine 
spurted everywhere, and lay in puddles on the floor. 
The popping of corks was like machine-gun fire. Brut, 
Cliquot, Piper Heidsieck and Mumm's — $20 the quart 
F. O. B. Chicago. O God! O Montreal!" 

However pleasant the social side of the Cicero pic- 
ture may have been, the business side was something 
else again. The program outlined by Ed Konvalinka, 
the soda-jerker who became a Main Street Warwick 
with the election of the Capone ticket, had rough going 
occasionally. A recalcitrant alderman, for instance, op- 
posed a measure favored by Capone. His colleagues 
argued vehemently, but he stubbornly refused to listen 
to reason. Word of his attitude reached Capone, who 
hurried to the City Hall, waited till he emerged from 
the meeting, and then gave him a sound drubbing. 
Another time Capone's merry-andrews stormed the 
hall while the council was deliberating and chased the 
members out in a body. 

Robert and Arthur St. John, brothers, were two news- 
paper editors Capone could neither bribe nor intimidate. 
They fought him tooth and nail. Robert edited the 
Cicero Tribune and Arthur the Berwyn Tribune, 
weeklies. Berwyn adjoined Cicero on the west. 

Threats proving unavailing, Robert was slugged and 
kicked by gangsters led by Capone in person. Arthur, 
crusading against the invasion of vice in Berwyn, was 

66 



AL CAPONE 

fired upon by a carload of men just before an election 
day and kidnaped. He was held incommunicado for 
forty-eight hours, until the polls closed. 

In off hours, Capone was fond of visiting with Tony 
the Greek, the restaurateur, over Frankie Pope's place, 
whose T-bone steaks were chefs-d'oeuvres. Although 
Capone was and is a gourmet of parts and relished 
these, it was Tony's company more than his cookery 
that attracted him. He had a real affection for the man. 
There comes to mind a Gilbert and Sullivan couplet, 
running, as accurately as memory can recall: 

When a felon's not engaged in his employment, 
His capacity for innocent enjoyment, 
Is just like any other man's. 

In the rear of the restaurant was a table reserved 
for Capone's personal use. Curtains hid it from prying, 
possibly hostile eyes, and there he would spend whole 
evenings with his friend Tony. Needless to say, Tony 
was another who esteemed Capone a a right guy." He 
was of the species known as Capone fans, which num- 
bers thousands in Chicago. He liked nothing better, 
than to spin j^arns of Capone's big-hear tedness. One of 
these had to do with a bedraggled newsie on a rainy 
November evening. He ambled in with an armful of 
papers, and approached Capone's booth. 

"How many you got left, kid?" asked Capone. 

"About fifty, I guess," he answered. 

"Throw tHem on the floor. Here," handing him a 
$20 bill, "run along home to your mother." 

There was one story Tony never told. It happened on 
a bitterly cold night in January, when a blizzard 

67 



AL CAPONE 






howled off the lake and the streets were caked with ice. 
Few humans were abroad. The restaurant was de- 
serted save for Capone and Tony in the booth. The bell 
attached to the door leading to the stairway tinkled. 

"Customers coming up," said Tony. "Ill get their 
order and be back in a second." 

Seconds became minutes, minutes hours, and he did 
not return. 

The story Tony never told was set down by the 
coroner. 

"Theodore Tony the Greek Anton, restaurant pro- 
prietor of Cicero, taken for a ride. Body found in 
quicklime. Slayers not apprehended." 

Capone sat in the booth that night as the minutes , 
lengthened, sobbing like a child. He knew what had 
happened. Enemy gangsters in their reprisals were 
striking at him through his friendships. 

What price bootleg glory? 

There were four Al Capones, and Al, the Chicago 
business man, was a man of two addresses and an alias. 
At the Metropole Hotel, 2300 South Michigan Avenue, j 
he was Al the Big Shot of politics, booze, rackets, vice, 
and gambling. It was gangdom's G. H. Q. It is within i 
walking distance of the Loop, in the city's finest boule- 
vard, often called its Fifth Avenue, and which parallels 
that Grant Park where in 1933 is to be held the World's 
Fair. A frequenter of the Metropole during the Capone 
regime describes it thus: 

It was garrisoned like Birger's blockhouse in the woods in 
Bloody Williamson county. The Capones occupied as many 
as fifty rooms on two heavily guarded floors. They operated 
their own private elevators and maintained their own service 

68 



AL CAPONE 

bars. Gambling went on openly and women visited the floors 
at all hours of the day and night. The aroma of highly flavored 
Italian foods brought in from the outside permeated the cor- 
ridors. Nearly every hotel rule and regulation was violated 
daily. 

On Sunday mornings especially the lobby of the Metropole 
was a beehive of activity. Prominent criminal lawyers and 
high officials of the police department, along with politicians 
and divekeepers waited their turn to consult with the Big Shot. 
Policemen in uniform streamed in and out. A blind pig 
operated in the lobby by a semi-public official did a land office 
business. 

In an underground vault, especially constructed, were stored 
$150,000 worth of wines and liquors. The stock was constantly 
replenished. It was for the gang's private use. Capone himself 
occupied rooms 409 and 410, overlooking the boulevard. The 
hallway was patrolled by sentinels, posted at regular intervals 
as in an army. In an ante-room of the Capone suite was the 
bodyguard, equipped with the latest type of firearms. 

A couple of blocks up the street from the G. H. Q., 
Al the Big Shot did a Hyde-and-Jekyll and became 
Al the doctor — Dr. Brown of 2146 South Michigan 
Avenue. A casual visitor, opening the door on which 
the unpretentious name was lettered, would have had 
no cause to suspect that he was in other than the re- 
ception room of a physician's suite. The furnishings 
were identical with those prescribed by the medical 
conventions, even to last year's magazines on the cen- 
ter table. The visitor might have observed that the 
thorough Dr. Brown had his own pharmacopoeia — 
tiers of shelves against one wall behind a small counter, 
upon which in orderly array reposed rows of mysterious 
bottles, ranging in size from phials to quarts. 

69 



AL CAPONE 

An annual business totaling millions was transacted 
here. The doctor subterfuge camouflaged the general 
offices of the Capone bootleg syndicate. The reception- 
room bottles contained stock samples of every known 
variety of liquor, and prospective customers were al- 
lowed to take them to their own chemists for analysis. 

Here was a supertrust operating with the efficiency 
of a great corporation. It had a complete auditing 
system, maintained by a clerical staff of twenty-five 
persons. There were loose-leaf ledgers, card indexes, 
memorandum accounts, and day-books. No item was 
overlooked. Specifically, the records showed: 

1 . The names of more than two hundred well-known 
Chicagoans, and of many large hotels and drugstores, 
all patrons of the syndicate. 

2. The names of police officers and prohibition agents 
on the syndicate's pay-off list. 

3. All channels through which booze is brought from 
rum row, off New York City harbor, and from Miami 
and New Orleans. 

4. Details of the management of four big breweries 
controlled by the syndicate and producing the bulk of 
Chicago's beer. 

5. Loose-leaf ledgers showing the cost system used 
in disorderly houses. 

6. Blue books of all the saloons in Chicago and out- 
lying towns buying the syndicate's ale, booze, and 
beer. 

The man in charge of the syndicate's offices and who 
had thus systematized its operations was Jack Guzik, 
admittedly the brains of the Capone organization. He 
is a brother of Harry, a convicted pander, pardoned 

70 



AL CAPONE 

by Governor Small before he had served any of his 
sentence. So highly does Capone esteem Guzik that 
once when his friend was ill in Michael Reese Hospital 
he stationed a twenty-four hour watch at his bedside to 
guard against assassination. 

Guzik's standing in the community is such that 
when there was a wedding in his family in the summer 
of 1929, a morning newspaper made social mention 
of it, with a two-column picture, also noting that among 
those present were Aldermen John Coughlin of the 
First Ward and William V. Pacelli of Morris Eller's 
Twentieth Ward; Police Captain Hugh McCarthy and 
Ralph Bottles Capone, brother of the subject of this 
sketch — who was not present, being detained tempo- 
rarily in Philadelphia. 

Besides his sedentary duties at 2146 South Michigan 
Avenue, Guzik was in close contact with the various 
outside units of the syndicate, receiving reports in code 
of liquor shipments from across the Canadian border, 
and when they would arrive, as well as of those from 
Florida and New York City. He also kept in contact 
with the capable Mr. Danny Stanton, head of the 
Capone muscle department, whose activities were sup- 
ported by such pillars as Hughey Stubby McGovern, 
William Gunner Padden, Frank Dutch Carpenter, 
Raymond Cassidy, and Thomas Johnson — all except 
Stanton now pushing up the daisies. 

The syndicate was inconvenienced and dismayed 
when the police, responding to Mayor Dever's unre- 
mitting efforts to purge the city, raided its general 
offices and seized the records. Detective Sergeant Ed- 
ward Birmingham, who participated in the raid, said he 

71 



AL CAPONE 

had been offered a bribe of $5,000 to forget the book- 
keeping system and the records. 

It looked as if the administration were finally going to 
get somewhere. In the language of Mayor Dever, "We've 
got the goods this time." The evidence of graft and 
corruption among police officials and prohibition agents 
was damning. It was announced that the documents 
would be turned over to the Government for action. 

They weren't. Municipal Judge Howard Hayes had 
impounded them the day after the raid, and at a special 
hearing, of which there was no formal notification, 
returned them to the syndicate without giving the 
Federal authorities opportunity to inspect them. 

United States District Attorney Edwin A. Olson 
protested at what he described as a direct refusal to co- 
operate with the Government and made public a letter 
he had written to Judge Hayes asking him to withhold 
decision pending an investigation. The return of the 
records by Judge Hayes followed within sixteen hours 
a request from Federal officials at New Orleans for a 
transcript of them. The request, of course, was not 
granted. 

In June of 1925 Capone decided to have his life 
insured, and so notified the Chicago office of a large 
company. A representative was sent to interview him. 

"What is your occupation?" he asked Capone. 

"Dealer in second-hand furniture," answered 
Capone. 

"And he never cracked a smile," the representative 
reported. 

The other questions being put and answered, Capone 
was told he would hear further from the company, 

72 



AL CAPONE 

which he did. Although actuaries do not classify his 
stated occupation among the hazardous risks, the appli- 
cation was rejected. He tried a half-dozen other com- 
panies with no better luck. 

In the Chicago city directory of 1928-29 he was 
listed as a salesman. 

"What is your business?" asked Assistant United 
States District Attorney Daniel Anderson during a 
Federal grand jury investigation of Chicago Heights 
booze cases. 

"I must stand on my constitutional rights and refuse 
to answer anything particular about that," said Capone. 

He had three portentous reasons for wanting his life 
insured — George Bugs Moran, Earl Hymie Weiss, and 
Vincent the Schemer Drucci. There had been' four, 
but Two-Gun Louis Alterie had departed. It was gang- 
dom and not the courts that rid the city of the bluster- 
ing cowboy hoodlum. 

Alterie had only affectionate memories of the courts. 
Their leniency toward gangsters was manifested in 
remarkable fashion in a case in which he was involved. 
He had made himself conspicuous after O'Banion's 
death. At the inquest he had dared the killers "to shoot 
it out at State and Madison." He had gone about town 
flourishing his side-arms in night-life places and re- 
iterating the challenge. 

Deputy Police Commissioner John Stege walked in 
on him one Sabbath morn in Ike Bloom's Midnigh£ 
Frolics in Twenty-second Street and arrested him with 
a cocked gun on the hip. He was held at the detective 
bureau until Monday without being booked. His law- 
yer, William Scott Stewart, a former assistant State's 

73 



AL CAPONE 

attorney, then appeared before Judge William J. 
Lindsay of the criminal court to compel Stege to file 
charges. The judge ruled for Stewart and Alterie was 
charged with carrying a revolver and with disorderly 
conduct. 

Quoting the conservative Chicago Daily News on the 
judicial procedure: 

JUDGE GOOD TO ALTERIE 

Scolds Police for Arresting Gunman: Frees Him on 2 
Charges. 

Reprimanding the police for "wasting their time" in arrest- 
ing Louis Alterie, Judge William J. Lindsay in the criminal 
court this afternoon ordered that Alterie, pal of the late Dion 
O'B anion, and two others, be booked on two charges and re- 
leased on $1,000 bonds. . . . 

"Why do you waste your time on this kind of stuff?" de- 
manded Judge Lindsay, as he acquiesced in the pleas of 
William Scott Stewart to have Alterie and the others booked. 
"Why, I have to carry a revolver myself because my neighbor- 
hood is so poorly policed. My home has been robbed and that is 
merely illustrative of the experience of hundreds of others." 

Gangdom had other ideas. George Bugs Moran, the 
ex-convict, led Alterie aside in Friar's Inn, a couple of 
nights later, when Alterie was boasting of his standing, 
and said: 

"You're gettin' us in bad. You gab too much. Beat 
it." 

The implication was unmistakable. His own kind had 
sat in judgment on him. Moran was delivering its find- 
ings. Neither expert counsel nor friendly judges could 
help him now. He could go out on a train or in a coffin. 

74 



AL CAPONE 

He chose the train, returning to the ranch in Colorado. 

Capone wanted insurance, for the guns had roared 
again, with the vengeful O'Banions pushing the of- 
fensive. Hell-bent, the three musketeers, Drucci, 
Moran, and Weiss, had come riding across No Man's 
Land; over the Madison Street deadline; past the 
Capone G. H. Q. at the Metropole Hotel; on south 
to Fifty-fifth and State streets, where they had let 
Capone 's sedan have it with sawed-off shotguns and 
machine guns. i3fiL 

"They let it have everything but~«rfe kitchen stove," 
commented an old bureau squad sergeant. 

Slugs and bullets, at three-foot range, had raked it 
from stem to stern, riddling the hood and tonneau and 
demolishing the engine. The O'Banions had used a 
touring car with drawn curtains, driving slowly along- 
side the sedan and blasting away from the front and 
rear seats. Sylvester Barton, the chauffeur, was 
wounded in the back. He dropped to the floor and es- 
caped further injury. 

Capone missed death by minutes. He had been in- 
specting his booze and beer territory and had just 
stepped into a restaurant. 

Within a week Torrio got his. The O'Banions, trail- 
ing him after Dion's wake and funeral from Chicago 
to Hot Springs, Arkansas, to New Orleans, to the 
Bahamas and Havana, Cuba, and back to Palm Beach, 
had at last overtaken him in front of his South Side 
home, at 7011 Clyde Avenue. 

He and Mrs. Torrio had been shopping in the Loop 
and had returned with several parcels. She had stepped 
out of the car first and was halfway to the entrance 

75 



AL CAPONE 

of the building. Torrio was still inside the car collecting 
the parcels. On the opposite side of the street a gray 
automobile was parked. It contained three men. Two 
leaped from it, running. One, with a sawed-off shot- 
gun, posted himself at the rear of Torrio 's car, and the 
other, with a revolver, at the front. 

They opened fire simultaneously. A charge of buck- 
shot ripped through the body of the coach. Robert 
Barton, chauffeur, brother of Sylvester, was struck in 
the right knee. T/^o wasn't scratched. He dropped the 
parcels and starttcr running for the apartment build- 
ing. He was the apex of a triangle of which the gunmen 
were the base. 

They concentrated their cross-fire on him. A .45 
caliber bullet from the revolver buried itself in his left 
arm. He wheeled, still half running, to reach for his 
own gun, and a charge of buckshot caught him full 
in the front, shattering his jaw and piercing his lungs 
and abdomen. He folded up on the sidewalk. 

It looked as if the mighty Torrio was about ready 
to strike out. As he lay unconscious, the O'Banion 
pistoleer dashed over to administer the coup de grace — 
a bullet in the brain. However, he had emptied his 
revolver and it was necessary to insert a new cartridge 
clip. As he was doing that, and the sawed-off shot- 
gunner was reloading, their driver honked the horn 
sharply. Apparently it was a prearranged signal for 
flight. Both fled to the car, which disappeared around 
the corner. 

"I know who they are," said Torrio, in Jackson Park 
Hospital. "It's my business." 

Capone rushed to his bedside. The temperamental 

76 



AL CAPONE 

Neapolitan was in tears and forgot himself so far as 
to blurt: 

"The gang did it! The gang did it!" 

He took command of the sick-room, employing extra 
private nurses and posting a bodyguard of four men — 
two in the room and two outside the building. Torrio 
insisted, too, that he be kept in an inside room. He 
was in the hospital sixteen days. When he left, 
February 9th, it was via a fire escape, to circumvent 
any designs of the O'B anions at aflbther attempt on 
his life. 

A tough egg, Torrio. Reared with the New York 
City Five Pointers, his playmates had been killers 
like Gyp the Blood and Lefty Louie, and with them he 
had participated in only his conscience knows how 
much crime. He was among those questioned in the 
murder of Herman Rosenthal, the gambler. Colosimo 
had brought him on to Chicago and the Mafia had 
ceased its persecution after three of its members had 
been assassinated. He was tough, all right, BUT 

"Johnny's the same as a lot of fighters in the ring," 
said a straight-thinking Chicagoan who knows him. 
"He can dish it out, but he can't take it." 

Vainly the police questioned Torrio, Capone, and 
Barton, the chauffeur. They stuck by the code. No 
squawking for them. This was "their" business. 

But seventeen-year-old Peter Veesaert, son of the 
janitor of a neighboring apartment building, was be- 
holden to no such ethics. Three times in as many 
identification tests, he picked Moran as the revolver 
assailant. He had witnessed the whole attack. He re- 
cited in detail how Moran had been the first to leap 

77 



AL CAPONE 

from the gray automobile and open fire. He faced him 
at the detective bureau and said, "You're the man." 

"Who? Me?" growled the ex-convict. 

"Yes," the boy fearlessly insisted. 

Moran was never indicted nor brought to trial. 

Within seventy-two hours he was released on bonds 
of $5,000 by Judge William J. Lindsay, although police 
headquarters had asked that he be detained "pending 
the uncovering of more evidence." Assistant State's 
Attorney John A. Sbarbaro represented Mr. Crowe's of- 
fice in the investigation. 

Torrio refused to aid in the prosecution, and another 
finis was written by the Cook County authorities to a 
gangster shooting. Not by General Al the Scarface, 
though. In his ledger it was docketed, "Unfinished 
business." He was to wait a long time. 

". . . can dish it out, but can't take it." 

Torrio was using fire-escapes and Capone thought 
a portable fort would be comfortable to ride around in. 
He gave the order for his celebrated armored sedan. 
The body was of steel construction, the windows of 
bullet-proof glass, and the fenders non-dentable. The 
average family sedan weighs between 3,600 and 4,000 
pounds. Capone's weighed seven tons. It cost him $20,- 
000. Shrapnel,, buckshot, or machine-gun bullets would 
splatter off it as harmlessly as raindrops off a tin roof. 
It had a special combination lock so that his enemies 
couldn't jimmy a door to plant a bomb under him. 

It became a familiar sight in Michigan Avenue, Lake 
Shore Drive, and Sheridan Road. Capone was fond 
of motoring and almost any evening might have been 
seen taking the benediction of the air; puffing his hefty 

78 



AL CAPONE 

black cigar as he lolled back against the overstuffed 
leather cushions in the rear seat; his eleven-and-a- 
half-carat diamond shining for all it was worth, which 
was $50,000. 

Then there was the convoy. Preceding the portable 
fort was a scout flivver, which darted in and out of 
traffic, keeping a distance of a half-block, and per- 
forming somewhat the same duties as a destroyer to a 
battleship. Immediately following the fort was a tour- 
ing car containing the Capone bodyguard. This convoy 
seemed superfluous considering the invulnerability of 
the new equipage, but Capone was taking no chances. 
His acute terror of death was demonstrated shortly 
before he got the armored sedan. He had been to the 
Criminal Courts Building. As he was leaving, a group 
of cameramen began shooting pictures. "Don't take my 
automobile license number, boys," he begged, but one 
fellow had already done so, and the picture appeared 
in an afternoon newspaper. Capone gave the car away 
and bought another, thus obtaining a new number. 
"That picture would have put me on the spot," he ex- 
plained. 

The appearance of the portable fort and convoy in 
downtown Chicago was always an occasion of public 
interest. "There goes Al," would fly from lip to lip, 
and pedestrians would crowd to sidewalk curbs, craning 
necks as eagerly as for a circus parade. It was a civic 
spectacle to linger in the recollections of strangers 
within the gates of America's second largest city during 
1925, 1926, 1927, and 1928. If visitors were deprived 
of it in 1929 neither the Chicago police department 
nor the State's attorney's office of Cook County could 

79 



AL CAPONE 

be held accountable — much less the Federal prohibition 
authorities. The responsibility was Philadelphia's. 

Said the Chicago Tribune at the time of his arrest 
there: 

This is the first time Capone has been convicted of any 
offense and punished. So far as is known Philadelphia was 
out of his territory. He was found on the city streets with a gun 
in his pocket, but he was not wanted in connection with other 
lawlessness in Pennsylvania. It is not charged that he was in 
any of the city's own gangs of bootleggers, gunmen and cor- 
ruptionists. . . . 

He is in jail not because he was a successful and persistent 
violator of the Volstead act or because he was convicted of 
murder, but because he violated a Pennsylvania state law, the 
equivalent of which in Illinois he has always violated. 

By common repute and common police knowledge he has 
been the head of a murderous gang living by defiance of federal 
law. The federal officers in Chicago knew him as such. The 
federal government has sent little bootleggers and distillers to 
jail. . . . But it has never given the chief gangster of the 
city enough disturbance to cause him really to notice it. . . . 
He has traveled from Chicago to Florida and from Florida 
while liquor was being wholesaled under his direction, a trade 
in which machine guns furnish the only sales resistance. . . . 

Capone is in jail. It is not because of his years of violation 
of federal law, not because of the wealth he has made and dis- 
tributed in such lawlessness, not because of his gang leadership 
and the murders committed, but because he had a pistol in his 
pocket when he came out of a Philadelphia moving picture 
theater. 

The Tribune, whose policy is anti-Volstead, bears 
down upon the Federal authorities, to the exclusion of 
county and municipal authorities. In Chicago Capone's 

80 



AL CAPONE 

status was far above mere immunity to the law. There 
are many incidents illustrative of that fact. 

A hoodlum had escaped from the Criminal Courts 
Building. A city-wide search was made for him. A 
squad of ambitious young coppers, acting on a confi- 
dential tip, raided the hangout of a South Side gang 
that was a subsidiary of the Capone organization. The 
hoodlum wasn't there, but several members of the 
gang were, and as the squad entered they threw their 
artillery on the floor. It consisted of automatics and a 
sawed-off shotgun, which the young coppers seized 
and took to their commanding officer. 

"We got these off the gang," they told him. 

"Who gave you such orders? Take that stuff back," 
he said. 

Soon the young coppers were advised that they were 
in bad and might be transferred to the bush. They 
should see Capone. He received them at G. H. Q. 

"Well," he said, "I understand your captain wasn't 
to blame, and that you boys just made a mistake. I'm 
going to give you a break. After this, don't pull another 
boner." 

Again, a henchman having been haled into court 
and held, contrary to his expressed wishes, Capone 
barked at one of the clerical staff at G. H. Q.: 

"Get me Judge ." 

When he was put on the wire, Capone, without pre- 
liminary, said: 

"I thought I told you to discharge that fellow." 

"Oh," was the reply, "I was off the bench that day. 

I wrote a memo for Judge , and my bailiff forgot 

to deliver it." 

8X 



AL CAPONE 

"Forgot! Don't let him forget again." 

A surprising incident occurred in May of 1927, when 
Commander Francesco de Pinedo, Mussolini's round- 
the-world flyer and good-will emissary, arrived off the 
city's front yard — Grant Park, at Monroe Street — in 
his Marchetti hydroplane, the Santa Maria II. 

Pinedo's coming had been awaited for weeks. Chicago 
was his last scheduled stop in the United States. As 
he landed, sirens were blowing, whistles screeching, 
flags waving, and the populace huzzaing. The dignitaries 
comprising the welcoming committee were Dr. Ugo M. 
Galli, president of the local Fascisti; Leopold Zunini, 
Italian consul general, Judge Bernard P. Barasa to 
represent Mayor Thompson and the municipality, and, 
aboard the yacht of a millionaire radio manufacturer, 
Capone. 

He was the first to greet Pinedo. The explanation for 
his presence given to the writer was that the police 
department had heard rumors of a plot to stage an 
anti-Fascisti demonstration and had appealed to 
Capone to make a personal appearance in the belief 
that it would serve as a more effective preventive of 
trouble than the detail of a hundred bluecoats. 

There was no untoward happening except that 
Capone was reprimanded by a news cameraman for 
getting in his way when Pinedo stepped ashore. 

"Hey, you, one side! " he bawled, and Capone meekly 
obeyed. 

Ever since, in recalling the incident, the photographer 
groans : 

"What a dumbbell I was — passing up a picture of 
Al welcoming a visitor to Chicago!" 

82 



I 



AL CAPONE 

Time had, indeed, wrought vast changes in our fel- 
low townsman. Few now would recognize in the political 
Big Shot the roughneck bouncer of the Four Deuces, 
or in the tailored and chauffeured man about town 
the vulgar hoodlum who had flashed a deputy sheriff's 
star and waved a revolver at a common taxi-driver. 
It seemed unthinkable that Capone, the civic spectacle 
of the portable fort, could have been he who stooped 
to shoot a low bum like Joe Howard — "estate: 1 pair 
cuff buttons; cash, $17." 

Getting a bit fastidious, too, as regards associates. 
Richard Bennett was having a party for Jim Tully, the 
novelist and playwright. Capone was invited. 

"Who's going to be there?" he demanded. 

The guest list was produced. He was noncommittal 
until his informant reached the names of the Byfields 
of the Hotel Sherman, on whose sixteenth floor are 
sequestered Chicago's mayor and Little City Hall. 

"I hear both Frank and Jesse Byfield are good guys," 
he said. "I may go." 

• But he didn't. A theatrical press agent who loved 
his work not wisely, but too well, overdid his advance 
notices by announcing Capone 's acceptance. That made 
it impossible. To have gone after the newspapers pub- 
lished it would have been to put himself on the spot. 

It is a curious fact that Capone is the object of a 
sort of hero worship. People go out of their way to 
shake hands with him. The psychology of this is at 
least interesting. The writer is acquainted with a civil 
engineer of high repute who, on a business trip to 
Philadelphia, visited Eastern Penitentiary just to see 
him. He had not known him previously. He said he 

S3 



AL CAPONE 

shook hands with him and told him, "Al, we're with 
you." 

Wherever Capone went he was accorded preferential 
treatment. A typical instance was related by Westbrook 
Pegler, the sports writer, while in reminiscent mood: 

"Last winter Mr. Al Capone, the doyen of the 
racketeers, was escorted to a seat within the working 
press reservation at the battle of the two home loving 
husbands [Stribling and Sharkey] in Miami Beach." 

Mr. Pegler then draws certain conclusions, which, 
while not germane, are arresting: 

"It is true that he was* not there in an official capacity, 
but the public impression is such that persons are on 
official business at all times, wherever they may be. 

"So when Dempsey, in his character as an official 
greeter for the Garden corporation, welcomed Mr. 
Capone and dusted off a chair for him, the scene was 
interpreted as a gesture of good fellowship and an ex- 
change of amenities between two professions having 
much in common." 

As usual the cameraman besought him to pose. One 
picture, which a newsreel sent around the country, . 
was of "Gangland's King," as an inspired title-writer j 
captioned Capone, standing with Jack Sharkey and : 
Bill Cunningham, former ail-American football player. : 

Capone's first stay in Florida was productive of a \ 
story frequently teacupped in Chicago's Gold Coast 
set because it concerns a family that is a member of J 
it. Having decided to spend a winter on the Nile, the 
family advertised its Miami home for lease. A realty 
broker appeared with a prospect — season's rent in 
advance and no questions asked — and the deal was 

84 



AL CAPONE 

closed. Capone was, of course, the prospect. The best 
version of the story is that of Dick Little, who got it 
first hand from a friend of the lessors: 

They went off to Egypt in fear and trepidation of what they 
would find left of their beautiful place when they returned. 
Furniture and china and objets d'art smashed, no doubt, with 
bullet holes through the taffeta curtains and the walls riddled. 
Why had they ever done such a silly thing I Their Egyptian 
winter was completely spoiled. . . . 

At last they turned their faces homeward, and once through 
the customs made a beeline for Miami. But their beautiful 
place stood placidly in the Florida sunshine, just as they had 
left it; inside, the furniture, the curtains, the walls were un- 
changed. 

Only in the silver chests there were eight or ten dozen new 
sets of sterling silver, and in the china closets stack after stack 
of new and beautiful china. They collapsed in chairs and 
stared at each other. 

On the first of the month, however, there was some annoy- 
ance; the telephone bill arrived with a $500 long distance call 
to be paid. The lady of the house was furious. Her husband was 
more philosophical — had they not had their house returned to 
them in perfect condition after several months' occupancy by 
the Capones ? . . . That afternoon a quiet little woman in the 
simplest of clothes drove up to the door in a high-powered 
motor car, and, announcing herself as Mrs. Alphonse Capone, 
requested to see the owner. 

"I came," said the quiet little woman, "to pay our telephone 
bill. We did not know how much it would be when we left, 
but if you have it now I'll pay it." 

The owner produced the bill and Mrs. Capone took a 
thousand-dollar bill from her pocketbook. 

"Keep the change," she said, "I'm sure we must have broken 
something while we were here and I hope that will cover it." 

85 



AL CAPONE 

Capone's next maneuver in Florida was to buy the 
Palm Island estate, three miles from downtown Miami. 
The transaction was conducted with much strategy, 
Capone's identity being concealed until the deal was 
closed. 

The other millionaires on the island, if they had not 
known him by reputation, would have set him down 
as a quiet man of rather odd tastes. Wherever one 
roamed about the house or walled grounds there were 
bulky, hard-faced men — the Capone guards. He enter- 
tained extensively, his week-end parties often number- 
ing seventy-five or a hundred guests. He was a gracious, 
affable host, anxious only to please those who might 
accept his hospitality. 

As soon as the colony learned the identity of the 
newcomer there was a vehement protest. A delegation 
waited upon Solicitor R. R. Taylor of Dade County, 
Mayor J. Newton Lummus, Jr., and Chief of Police 
Guy C. Reeve of Miami. Mr. Taylor summoned 
Capone to his office and informed him that he was re- 
garded as an undesirable. 

"I am a property owner here," said Capone. "I have 
done nothing wrong. I don't intend to do anything 
wrong and I don't intend to leave. The only way you 
can get rid of me is to have the United States Supreme 
Court say there is a law to put me out." 

He stayed, and as a result Miami became the winter 
Cicero of Chicago gangdom. Terry Druggan, hijacker 
and beer runner, bought an ocean-front place near 
Capone, and he and his pal and business partner, 
Frankie Lake, maintained open house during the tourist 
season. Hughey Stubby McGovern's mob moved in 

86 






AL CAPONE 

and there was a general influx of gamblers and pick- 
pockets to patronize the Hialeah racetrack and the 
Miami dog-tracks. It pleased the Chicago police de- 
partment. 

Capone's Palm Island estate, his $20,000 car and 
other minutiae of affluence, engaged the attention of 
the Intelligence unit of the internal revenue service. 
An investigation was started that is still under way. 
There is a suspicion that he is holding out in income 
taxes. It is a Volsteadian paradox that the Government 
in one role should stalk as criminals the class pro- 
hibition has enriched and in another should seek to 
share in its gains. There is an element of comedy 
in it. 

"We believe Capone has had the advice of able law- 
yers in covering up his assets," an official close to the 
office of the collector of internal revenue for the Chicago 
district confided to the writer. He was discouraged. 
"We know, for instance, that he owns a lot of Chicago 
realty, but we can find little property in his name. 

"His sources of income are known to us. We believe 
he could cash in for $20,000,000. But where has he 
hidden it? Our men get so far, then they find them- 
selves in blind alleys. Just as an example we discovered 
$100,000 in cash which his brother, Ralph, had secreted 
in a safety-deposit box. Pin money. We get leads that 
look good, but don't materialize. 

"A theory which we have been investigating for 
more than a year is that the bulk of his wealth is 
handled by a bank which he controls through dummy 
stockholders. Our information is that this bank is used 
as a depositary by several bootleggers and racketeers. 

87 



AL CAPONE 

If we can uncover it there will be some startling dis- 
closures." 

The official ended his talk with a grudging tribute. 
He said Capone had exceptional business ability and 
would have gone far in any legitimate line. Then he 
uncorked this: 

"If he had only been honest, what a hero he would 
have made for a Horatio Alger tale!" 

Heh, heh! 

The reader has met Al, the feudal baron; Al, the 
business man; Al, the Palm Island seigneur. Let us 
present Al, the home boy. 

Nine steps lead up from the sidewalk to the stoop 
of the two-story, two-flat, faced brick building at 7244 
Prairie Avenue, on Chicago's South Side. There is 
nothing unusual about it or its surroundings. It is of 
the standardized type common to every American city 
and located in a typical city block. 

Domiciled there, occupying both flats, were Capone 
and his wife, Mae; their eleven-year-old boy; Capone's 
mother, Mrs. Theresa Capone, widow of Gabriel; her 
daughter, Mafalda; her oldest son, John; and her 
youngest son, Matthew. Originally there were five sons, 
but Frank was killed in the Cicero election-day battling, 
and Ralph, better known as Bottles, lived elsewhere. 

The Capone town house is in the Grand Crossing 
police district. South of it lies the Kensington district, 
commanded as this biography is written by Captain 
Michael Grady, who as a detective bureau lieutenant 
was indicted in the $1,000,000 Sibley warehouse liquor 
robbery. He and four of his squad sergeants were 
charged with convoying the stolen whiskey to the boot- 



AL CAPONE 

leggers' distribution stations. They were acquitted at 
their trial. O'Banion, indicted for the theft, was killed 
while the case was still pending. 

He who is editorialized as "by common repute and 
common police knowledge head of a murderous gang" 
selected for his domestic fireside a locality securely re- 
mote from the scene of his professional activities. No 
gang shootings occur hereabouts. No aliens infest it. 
There are no alky-cookers , no gambling joints, no 
blind pigs. Life is tranquil, orderly, reposeful. It is a 
nine o'clock neighborhood — a refuge to which the tired 
business man may repair, certain of soothing easement 
from all cark and care. 

Altogether there are thirty-four dwellings in the 
block. Of the householders, twenty-two own their own 
homes — sixty-six per cent and a fraction, a substantial 
ratio. An interesting coincidence is that three of these 
home-owners are members of the police department. 
At 7208, there are Henry Huttner, a policeman, and his 
wife; at 7212, Patrick J. Houlihan, a policeman, and 
his wife. They are on Capone's side of the street, ten 
doors north of him. On the opposite side, at 7211, 
there live Dominick Gavigan, sergeant of police, and 
Mrs. Gavigan. He is at this writing attached to the 
Gresham district, which adjoins Grand Crossing on 
the southwest. 

So far as can be ascertained, the Capones are the 
only Italian family in the block. The others are of 
Scotch, Irish, or German ancestry. Their occupations 
conform to the typicalness of the block. They include 
a steam-fitter, a druggist, a grocer, the president of a 
clothing company, the efficiency expert of a publishing 

89 



AL CAPONE 

firm, a draftsman, a cement salesman, and two doors 
south of Capone, a retired Presbyterian minister. 

The personal opinion in the block is that the Capones 
are good neighbors ; that they bother nobody and mind 
their own business ; that when the women folks do hap- 
pen to borrow a cup of sugar, say, they return it 
promptly, heaping full. 

If you had entree when Capone was there, you would 
find him puttering about in carpet slippers and loung- 
ing robe — probably tuning in on the radio or more 
than likely playing games with his son, whom he idol- 
izes. He would invite you to have a snack of spaghetti, 
and if you accepted, he would prepare it himself at the 
big kitchen range, an apron tied round his colloped 
neck. He prides himself on his spaghetti chefery. With 
the dish the guest could drink his fill of elegant Chianti. 

The personal side of Capone teems with stories of 
his generosity. His sister, Mafalda, attended the Rich- 
ards School at Twenty-fifth and Lime streets, whose 
student body is composed exclusively of girls between ! 
fourteen and sixteen years of age. Around Christmas; 
time the Capone sedan would pull up at the entrance, 
jammed to the top with baskets of candy, fruits, i 
turkeys, and gifts for every pupil and the teachers as" 
well. Nobody was forgotten. Capone supervised the! 
distribution, beaming like old St. Nick. 

Urchins and hangers-on around the boxing shows/ 
always laid for him. He invariably bought an extra; 
$100 worth of tickets, which he stuck in convenient 
pockets for expeditious disposal. Arrived at the arena, 
he would be hemmed in by a milling rabble, chorusing, 
"Hello, Al!" Shouldering his way through, Capone 

90 



AL CAPONE 

would accompany each ducat with a, "Hello, kid! " and, 
if the recipient impressed him as particularly seedy, 
a $20 bill. 

A detective who is an authority on underworld condi- 
tions says he never double-crossed a friend, or for 
that matter anybody who played square with him. In 
the early days, leaders of a rival outfit with which he 
wished to affiliate notified him they would do so if he 
would kill two of his gunmen who had made themselves 
obnoxious. "I wouldn't do that to a yellow dog," said 
Capone. However, he was pitiless toward those who 
betrayed his trust, as Scalise and Anselmi learned. 

Apropos, the phrase, "bulging hips," is often en- 
countered as applied to gangsters. In Chicago no gang- 
ster carries a gun on the hip. The draw would be too 
slow. All use the shoulder harness, the gun, a .45, being 
holstered about four inches below the left armpit. A 
smaller one is generally carried in the right coat pocket. 
There is a tonsorialist in the basement barber-shop of a 
Loop hotel who has many gangster customers. His chair 
does not pivot. It is adjusted to face the door. When- 
ever it is occupied by one whose hand rests in the right 
coat pocket, those in the know are aware that that one 
is a gangster. 

If you chanced to meet Capone and he had a growth 
of whiskers, you knew there had been another coroner's 
inquest. In the event of a death he never shaved from 
the day of its occurrence until after the funeral. 

Although, following the slaying of their leader, the 
O'Banions launched a furious offensive — driving Ca- 
pone into his portable fort and scaring Torrio so badly 

91 



AL CAPONE 

that when he went to the Lake County jail to serve nine 
months for operating a brewery he had the windows of 
his cell equipped with steel screens and hired three 
extra deputy sheriffs for sentry duty — the years of 1924 
and 1925 passed without any counter-reprisals. The 
reader may reasonably inquire why. 

The answer is that General Al the Scarface was ex- 
ceedingly busy on another sector. The deadliest gang 
Chicago ever knew was threatening him on the west. 
The Gennas had risen; and turned on him. 

These six brothers from Marsala, Sicily, had arrived 
as immigrants in 1910, and settled in Diamond Joe 
Esposito's old Nineteenth Ward, that vortex of the 
melting-pot across the river, in the Maxwell Street 
police district. It is a pot that always bubbles and fre- 
quently boils over, as it did in the aldermanic cam- 
paign of 1921, when thirty murders were committed. 

Here Angelo, Mike, Antonio, Peter, Jim, and Sam 
quickly adjusted themselves — Peter as a saloonkeeper; 
James as a blind-pigger; Sam as a blackhander and 
ward heeler, abetted by Angelo, the clan's tough guy, 
and Mike. Antonio did the thinking for them. 

Before Volstead, the Gennas were unheard of, but 
with prohibition came the magnificent opportunities 
for bootleg profits in the city that votes five to one wet 
and drinks that way. They specialized in alky-cooking, 
developing it on a huge scale. The Government un- 
knowingly aided them, inasmuch as it granted them a 
permit for an alcohol manufacturing plant. By virtue 
of this permit they were enabled to accomplish whole- 
sale distribution of bootleg alcohol along with the in- 
dustrial product. 

92 



AL CAPONE 

They soon discovered that the facilities of the li- 
censed plant were inadequate to supply the con- 
stantly increasing illicit demand. They then hit upon 
the scheme that made their fortunes — importing poor 
Sicilian families and setting them up in tenements 
with an alcohol still for each family. The man of 
the house was paid $15 a day — a fabulous sum in 
his old-world eyes — and all he had to do was to smoke 
his pipe and keep the still stoked. The Gennas had 
a hundred of these in operation. Their profits were 
enormous. 

The reader will appreciate the importance of alky- 
cooking when it is explained that laboratory analyses 
of liquor confiscated in Chicago — Bourbon, rye, Scotch, 
brandy, rum, and such — show that ninety per cent 
of it is synthetic; that is to say, alcohol with flavoring, 
coloring, and a fancy label added. The Gennas, with 
the political connivance of Diamond Joe Esposito, had 
entrenched themselves with the authorities. 

They leased a three-story building at 1022 Taylor 
Street, four blocks from the Maxwell Street police 
station, and used it as a warehouse and headquarters. 

"For six years, 7 ' said the late Patrick H. O'Donneil, 
criminal lawyer, in an argument to a jury in a gang- 
murder case, "the Genna brothers maintained a barter 
house for moonshine alcohol; maintained it openly and 
[notoriously, as public as the greatest department store 
in State Street." 

Eventually, the Government got around to investi- 
gating the Gennas and obtained a twenty-five page 
confession from their former office manager, in which 
he named five police captains. The confession was an 

93 



AL CAPONE 

interesting contribution to prohibition as was and as 
is in Chicago. Here is part of it: 

The warehouse was run night and day, with two twelve 
hour shifts. Heavy trucks, automobiles and lighter trucks were 
used in the distribution. The warehouse was run openly and * 
in full view of everybody . . . unmolested by the state au- 
thorities other than an occasional raid. 

But notification of twenty-four hours was always given to 
the Gennas. Sometimes the very letters sent out by the police 
to raid were exhibited to this affiant, and there would be a 
clean-up, then a raid, then a reopening. , . . 

During all the period that I worked in said warehouse the 
entire Genna enterprise was done with the full knowledge, 
consent and approval of the police of Chicago in so far as the 
police were in touch with or in the neighborhood or had 
business under their jurisdiction. 

The Gennas for said protection paid, monthly, large sums, 
which rose from a small amount in the beginning to about 
$6,500 in April of 1925. Moreover, said police received in ad- 
dition thereto much alcohol at a discount price to permit the , 
Gennas publicly to operate said stills and system of distri- ; 
bution. 

These were the years, let the reader remember, when j 
Mayor Dever was trying to enforce prohibition. 

Each month said warehouse was visited by 400 uniformed 
police and by squads — sometimes four per month — out of the 
central bureau. It was visited, moreover, by representatives 
with stars but not in uniform, commonly known around the 
warehouse as representatives of the state's attorney's office of { 
Cook county. 

That police might not impose upon the Gennas by falsely 
representing themselves as assigned to the Maxwell street 

94 



AL CAPONE 

station, each month there came by letter or messenger a list of 
all stars worn by officers and men at the Maxwell street station. 
These were on short slips of paper and were taken by this 
affiant. 

The entire list of stars was run off on the adding machine 
-and the papers sent from the station were destroyed. 

As each man came in for his pay his star was observed. If his 
star was upon the list sent in he was paid ; his star number was 
inserted on a loose leaf ledger page, and the amount of the 
payment was put opposite his star number. I had nothing to do 
with paying the squads or higher ups [from central detail or 
headquarters and the state's attorney's office], but was held 
accountable for the money paid to them. . . . 

On occasions when truckloads of alcohol would be going to 
different parts of the city and they would be intercepted by 
strange policemen, complaint was lodged by the Gennas. It 
was arranged then between the Gennas and the squads in the 
central detail as follows: 

When a long haul was to be made through strange territory, 
the Gennas on the preceding night would call certain numbers 
and say, "Tomorrow at 7." On the next morning at 7 a uni- 
formed squad of police would remain in the offing until a 
truckload of alcohol would start from the Genna warehouse. 
This squad would convoy them through the zones of danger. 
This affiant himself has called them, according to the number 
which indicated that the police were to convoy the alcohol for 
the Gennas. 

This blunt recital of graft and corruption gives an 

Idea of the extent of the Gennas' operations. By 1925 

hey were in the high noon of their prosperity. The 

noney was rolling into their coffers at the rate of $100,- 

)00 a month. 

They had had their share, too, of coddling by the 

95 



AL CAPONE 

authorities, and had sat down at their own Belshazzar 
feasts with the political great and the near-great. 

A poplar tree stands in front of 725 Loomis Street, 
in the heart of Little Italy. Tenements, sweat-shops, 
and factories crowd about it. The earth in which its 
roots seek nourishment is trampled hard by children's 
feet, and no grass grows. The air reeks of smoke and 
impurities. The poplar's foliage, even in spring, is 
sparse and pallid, and its limbs misshapen. Winters, 
it sprawls against the smudge of sky like a talon. 

From the beginning to the end of 1921 you might 
have seen a daily procession of beshawled women 
and shabbily dressed men hurrying up to it, fearfully 
scanning a paper tacked to its trunk, and hurrying on. 
Today they call it "Dead Man's Tree." On it, in ad- 
vance, of course, and always correctly, were posted the 
names of those who were to die in the feud of the thirty 
killings in the Anthony D' Andrea- John Powers alder- 
manic campaign. 

The prelude was two bombings — first, the home of 
Alderman Powers in September of 1920, next, the home 
of D'Andrea in February of 1921. 

The names of some of the more important posted on 
the poplar tree, and the order in which they were slain, 
follow: 

Paul A. Labriola, a lieutenant in the Powers political 
organization, and for fifteen years bailiff of the munici- 
pal court; March 8, 1921. 

Anthony D'Andrea; May 10th. 

Joseph Sinacola, D'Andrea henchman; July 7th. 

Joseph Laspisa, D'Andrea bodyguard; July 27th. 

Dominick Guttillo, Powers henchman; August 27th. 

96 






AL CAPONE 

Joseph Marino, D'Andrea lieutenant; October 9th. 

Nicola Adamo, Powers henchman; November 26th. 

Two witnesses made positive identification of Angelo 
Genna as the killer of Labriola. He was indicted, tried, 
and acquitted. He was defended by Stephen Malatto, 
who had resigned as an assistant State's attorney 
shortly before the trial. Mrs. Nicola Adamo identified 
Jim Genna as one of the killers of her husband. He was 
tried and acquitted. 

In October of 1924, about the time the O'Banions 
were entertaining Colonel Albert A. Sprague and Chief 
of Detectives Michael Hughes, the Italian Republican 
Club, in which the Gennas were directors, was giving a 
dinner in the Morrison Hotel for office-seekers and 
office-holders. All six Gennas were present, Jim being 
seated at the speakers' table. They had sold $5,000 
worth of tickets. Also present were John Scalise and 
Albert Anselmi, and Sam Samoots Amatuna. 

The guests included State's Attorney Robert E. 
Crowe; 1 Thomas O. Wallace, clerk of the circuit court; 
John K. Lawlor, sanitary district trustee; and Bernard 
W. Snow, chief bailiff of the municipal court, and now 
the titular head of the Republican party in Cook 
County, chairman of the central committee. These 
represented the Crowe-Barrett faction, the latter 
being two brothers, Charles V. Barrett of the Cook 
County board of review, and George F. Barrett of the 
Fleming Coal Company, counsel for the sanitary dis- 
trict. 

United States Senator Charles S. Deneen's faction 
was represented by James Kearns, clerk of the munici- 
pal court; Joseph F. Haas, county recorder; William G 

97 



AL CAPONE 

Scherwat, candidate for county clerk, and Diamond 
Joe Esposito. 

The dinner caused the Better Government Associ- 
ation to forward a resolution to the United States 
Senate charging that " Chicago politicians are in league 
with gangsters and the city is overrun with a combina- 
tion of lawless politics and protected vice." 

This, then, was the background, political and other- 
wise, of the six Gennas in 1925. They were well-nigh 
as powerful in the old Nineteenth Ward and throughout 
the length and breadth of Little Italy as Diamond Joe 
Esposito himself. As for the social problem — and it is 
just as serious west of the river in melting-pot town, 
as north of the water tower in the Gold Coast dis- 
trict — it had been happily solved by the marriage of 
Angelo, the clan's tough boy, to Lucille Spingola. This 
automatically raised the Gennas to the level of fashion- 
able respectability commensurate with their wealth. 
For pomp and circumstance, it established a precedent 
in Little Italy, where festas are common and tinseled 
splendor is the rule rather than the exception. 

The comely Lucille was the younger sister of Henry 
Spingola, the big garage owner; lawyer and politician; 
a candidate in 1924 for State Representative, but de- 
feated for the Republican nomination by William V. 
Pacelli of the Morris Eller faction. 

The Spingolas, said those who knew, considered 
themselves a cut above the Gennas. Henry had been 
graduated from McKinley High School and also had 
his diploma from the John Marshall Law School. And 
he played pinochle at Mongelluzzo's cozy Italian 
restaurant at 914 South Halsted Street with such grand 

98 



AL CAPONE 

opera stars as Desire Defrere, the famous baritone, 
.and Giacomo Spadoni, the conductor. Whereas, but 
recently Angelo and his brothers were only the scum 
of the slums. But Angelo's gat ruled the Gennas' alky 
business, and those who were in it with them. And 
Henry was one. So Angelo married Lucille. 

The wedding reception was held in Carmen's hall of 
the Ashland auditorium, on the West Side, and three 
thousand guests partook of the refreshments. "Come 
one, come all," said Angelo in the invitations that he 
advertised in the papers. The pictorial feature, one 
which diverted attention even from the bride, was the 
wedding cake, twelve feet high and weighing two thou- 
sand pounds. It was declared to be the largest and most 
elaborately decorated cake ever baked in Chicago. Let 
us view it through the eyes of a young lady reporter 
on that January day in 1925: 

As the crowds of friends and relatives, including prominent 
persons from all over the city, gathered to do the bride and 
groom honor, they glanced first at the right side of the hall 
and then at the left. At one side stood the bride, who had just 
come from the wedding ceremony at the Holy Family church, 
where Father Ciofelletti had united her in wedlock to the 
young importer. 

Down the hall stood the wedding cake, soaring majestically 
like a sculptured cathedral above the throng. Friends gasped 
first at the loveliness of the bride and then at the wonder of the 
cake. 

The cake, which it took four days to bake, was comprised 
of 400 pounds of sugar, 400 pounds of flour, several buckets of 
flavors, seven cases of eggs, containing 360 eggs to the case, and 
other materials from the pantry, said the artist and sculptor, 
S. Ferrara. 

99 



AL CAPONE 

The cake was baked in tiers from a recipe Ferrara brought 
from Europe, thirty years ago, and was decorated with hun- 
dreds of frosted motifs, roses, little windows with icing for 
window panes, and on top of it all was a miniature balcony, 
on which stood a doll-like bride and groom. Sketched in icing 
was the inscription, "Home Sweet Home." 

Angelo and Lucille shook off the dust of the Sicilian 
colony and went to live on the North Side, at the Bel- 
mont Hotel, 3156 Sheridan Road, where Mary Garden 
has stopped during her grand opera engagements in 
Chicago. It is across the street from Mayor Thompson's 
home, and among Angelo's other neighbors were the 
J. Ogden Armours at 3400 Sheridan Road. 

With such a social triumph as this wedding capping 
their varied achievements, it would have seemed that 
there was nothing more the six brothers could ask. That 
is where Capone enters. The Gennas' greatest ambi- 
tion had not been gratified. They wanted to rule the 
Unione Sicilione, whose founder and president, Mike 
Merlo, had died in 1924. 

The spell this office exerted upon the imaginations 
of men of the Gennas' race was irresistible and has a 
twofold explanation. One, of course, was the pecuniary 
attraction. The other, old as the ages, was its symbol 
to them of high place — a patent of distinction, setting 
its possessor apart from his fellows. Its appeal was to 
the childish vanity inherent in the human race. The 
result was no fewer than twenty-five killings in five 
years. Capone, the Neapolitan, cherished no sentiments 
regarding it. To him it was a business proposition. 

Prior to Merlo's death, as the reader has seen, the 
Gennas were Capone's allies, but with his passing 

100 






AL CAPONE 

alignments shifted. Primarily, Capone, who had main- 
tained close relations with Merlo, was determined to 
name his successor. He did not want the Unione to 
pass into the control of somebody who might use it 
against him. He did not trust the Gennas. His choice 
for the place was Antonio Lombardo, partner of Joseph 
Aiello — commission brokers and cheese merchants. 

To this, the answer of the six brothers was thumbs 
down. They would tell the cockeyed world. Who was 
Lombardo? What was his business and political im- 
portance compared with theirs? They called a meeting 
of their henchmen and adopted resolutions of protest. 
The decision infuriated them. They considered it a 
personal affront. And there was the commercial aspect. 
With the Unione they would have a complete monopoly 
of the alky-cooking industry; without it, a powerful 
rival, backed by the Capone machine guns. The compe- 
tition would be ruinous. Their financial life was at 
stake. 

"Let's go," said the six brothers. 

They went fast and far; they had seated Angelo, 
the tough boy, in the late Mike Merlo 's chair before 
Capone suspected what was up. For the tactics of the 
Sicilian Gennas were not those of the North Side Irish. 
The O'Banions were straightforward foemen, fighting 
in the open, giving no quarter and asking none. The way 
of the Gennas was compact of guile, stealth, and cun- 
ning — the smiling lip and the treacherous heart. They 
were organized hypocrisy. 

A factor favoring their scheme was the popularity 
they had acquired among their countrymen by their 
largesse. These were in the minority, but they were 

101 



AL CAPONE 

desperately loyal and determined. With the support of 
Angelo's dire reputation, they experienced no difficulty 
in imposing their will on the pro-Lombardo majority. 
Wherefore, the six brothers established their dictator- 
ship of the Unione. In European chancelleries this ex- 
ploit would have been described as statesmanship; in 
Chicago, gangland called it muscling in. 

The reader now understands why in 1925 Capone 
did not retaliate on the O'Banions for blasting his car 
into the junk-heap and filling Torrio with lead. He 
was occupied with the Gennas to the exclusion of all 
other matters. The O'Banions would receive attention 
later, and how! As for the six brothers: 

Angelo was the first to die. His honeymoon was in 
its fifth month the morning of May 25th, when he 
kissed his bride good-bye at the Belmont Hotel and 
climbed into his $6,000 roadster to go to the alky plant. 
It was the old story of sawed-off shotguns and a volley 
of slugs. 

The inevitable touring car with stolen license plates 
slid into the offing twelve blocks south of his fashion- 
able abode, and in Ogden Avenue, near Hudson, three 
glinting muzzles, poked over the starboard side, spoke 
their piece for the tough boy. The evidence at the in- 
quest was nil and it was continued indefinitely. 

Mike was next — within three weeks, June 13th — 
and all the thrills of blood-and-thunder fiction were 
packed into the circumstances of his death. It was 
that Day of the Sixty Shots. There are two mementoes 
of it at police headquarters, in the big glass case that 
holds the stars of officers killed in the line of duty. 
There is the star of Harold F. Olson and there is the 

102 



AL CAPONE 

star of Charles B. Walsh. There is a third memento in 
the criminal court records of Cook County — an ac- 
quittal for John Scalise and Albert Anselmi for the 
murder of the two police sergeants. 

This starkest action-drama of the bootleg war opens 
with Capone's pair of ace gunners, Scalise and Anselmi, 
and Mike Genna driving south in Western Avenue, the 
city's longest thoroughfare, three miles west of State 
Street, which it parallels. At Forty-seventh Street they 
passed detective bureau squad No. 8, assigned to the 
Chicago Lawn station, and consisting of Olson, Walsh, 
Michael J. Conway, and William Sweeney. The squad 
was touring the district and its car was traveling 
north. Recognizing Genna, Conway, who was in charge 
of the squad, said: 

"Hoodlums. We'll follow them." 

Olson, at the wheel, turned quickly and headed 
south, clanging the gong as a halt signal for the gang- 
sters' car, by now a block away. It only sped the faster. 
The chase continued for a mile and a half. Fifty-ninth 
Street was passed at seventy-three miles an hour with 
the gangsters still holding their lead. 

A truck swerved into their path and their chauffeur, 
who was never identified, applied the brakes to avert 
a collision. The pavement was wet from rain. The car 
spun halfway around, hurdled the curb, and plopped 
down, facing northeast, beside a lamp-post. 

Olson was just as prompt. He jerked the emergency 
and the squad car slid to a stop, facing west, a few feet 
away. 

Thirty seconds had not elapsed since the truck had 
put an end to the chase, yet when the police pulled up, 

103 



AL CAPONE 

Scalise, Anselmi, and Genna were out and on the oppo- 
site side of their car. Only their heads were visible. 
The chauffeur had disappeared. 

"What's the idea?" asked Conway. "Why all the 
speed when we were giving you the gong?" 

None of the officers had drawn their guns. Olson, 
the first to step from the squad car, had his left foot on 
the running board as the question was put. Conway was 
waiting for his answer and Olson's right foot was in 
midair, when Scalise opened fire with a repeating shot- 
gun. Olson toppled, shot in the head. Scalise pumped 
his second charge at Walsh, who fell with a mortal 
wound in the breast. Anselmi cut loose with another 
weapon and Conway, the leader, dropped with a charge 
of buckshot in the chest. 

The gangsters had accounted for three of the four 
officers. Only the young copper, Sweeney, was left. 
They probably figured that it was all over but the 
shouting as they waited to pick him off. Imagine their 
surprise when Sweeney suddenly leaped out of the 
bullet-riddled tonneau and came galloping at them with 
a gun in either hand. 

They were three to one and they had two repeating 
shotguns and four sawed-off shotguns, besides their re- 
volvers. They took it on high. Employees of a garage 
at 5940 South Western Avenue, who with hundreds of 
others had been eyewitnesses, saw them running like 
rats through a vacant lot and into an alley halfway up 
the block between Western and Artesian Avenues. 
They still carried their shotguns. 

Sweeney, both guns going, was in full pursuit, and 
overhauling them. For as they gained the alley, he was 

104 



AL CAPONE 

close enough to see Scalise and Anselmi duck into the 
passageway alongside a house at 5941 Artesian Avenue. 
Genna was last, and before following them he whirled, 
aimed his shotgun at Sweeney and pulled the trigger. 
There was no explosion. It held only empty shells. 
Sweeney's reply was a bullet that plugged Genna in 
the leg. 

Unable to run farther, Genna rounded the house and 
looked for refuge. A basement window caught his eye. 
Smashing the glass with his shotgun he dived in, with 
Sweeney not thirty feet away. At this critical moment 
reinforcements appeared for Sweeney. Policeman Al- 
bert Richer t of the Brighton Park station, riding a 
Western Avenue street car, had seen him starting in 
pursuit of the gangsters. He jumped off the car and 
ran after him. At the same time, Mrs. Ellen Oakey of 
2434 West Sixtieth Street, peering from a window, had 
called to her husband: 

"George, look, there's a shooting!" 

Policeman George Oakey, sixty years old, white- 
haired and a bit stooped, had long been retired from 
active duty. He sat nights at the outer desk in the 
State's attorney's office. He was up and at the door by 
the time his wife finished the sentence. A minute later 
she saw him in the street, making for the scene of the 
fighting. He had to cross the vacant lot through which 
Sweeney had chased the gangsters and there he found 
Scalise's repeating shotgun. 

Thus it was that as Sweeney prepared to execute his 
next maneuver against Genna, Richert and Oakey 
joined him. It was a simple maneuver. It consisted of 
crashing the basement door, which was locked from 

105 






AL CAPONE 

the inside. The three brawny shoulders soon accom- 
plished this. Genna was lying on the floor. In his right 
hand was a .38 caliber revolver, which barked just 
once, before Sweeney, Richert, and Oakey rushed him. 
He had only the leg wound, but the bullet had severed 
an artery and he was weak from loss of blood. The 
officers carried him out and summoned a police ambu- 
lance to take him to the Bridewell hospital. 

His life was ebbing fast. He was limp when the am- 
bulance arrived and the attendants laid him on the 
stretcher. Not too limp, however, to lift his uninjured 
leg and kick the man holding the right corner of the 
stretcher full in the face. 

"Take that, you dirty son of a ," he said, and 

fell back unconscious. Two hours later he was dead. 

Hatless and breathless, their guns discarded, Scalise 
and Anselmi had fled north on Artesian Avenue to 
Fifty-ninth Street. They had tried to buy caps in a 
drygoods store, but the proprietor, suspicious, had 
shooed them away. They had then continued over to 
Western Avenue, and boarded a northbound street car. ' 
A flivver squad, dispatched from the West Englewood 
station, was told of this, and after a short chase the ' 
street car was overtaken and the two captured. No, , 
they didn't know anything about a shooting. They were ! 
just a couple of boys looking for work. 

For half an hour Olson, Walsh, and Conway lay ' 
where they had fallen, so swiftly had events taken 
place. Then, with a semblance of calm restored to the 
neighborhood, the citizens formed a volunteer relief 
unit. Olson and Walsh were conveyed in an automobile 
to the German Deaconess' Hospital, where they died 

106 






AL CAPONE 

without regaining consciousness. Conway was taken to 
St. Bernard's Hospital, where his life was despaired of 
for days. He and Sweeney were promoted to the grade 
of detective sergeants. 

The diabolical irony of the situation into which 
Mike Genna was plunged on that June morning may 
now be set forth. Actually, Scalise and Anselmi were 
taking him for a ride. It was to be his last day on 
earth, no matter what. Mike, of course, was blissfully 
ignorant of it as he earnestly battled the police side by 
side with Capone's gunners. 

General Al the Scar face was outsmarting the Gennas 
at their own game of guile and cunning. For weren't 
Scalise and Anselmi the Gennas' countrymen and their 
good friends? Yea. Didn't they even keep their car in 
the Spingola garage at 922 South Morgan Street? Yea. 

What the Gennas forgot to reckon with, strangely 
enough, was the characteristic of the smiling lip and the 
treacherous heart. Scalise and Anselmi had the sinister 
talents that qualified them as perfect torpedoes. In 
underworld parlance, a torpedo is an Italian or Sicilian 
sharp-shooter who can be relied on to execute a sen- 
tence of death without fail. He is as inevitable as the 
mongoose. His method is devious and calls for an ac- 
complice. He first wins his victim's trust. He will defer 
a killing for weeks to accomplish that. Then one day he 
will meet the victim and grip his hand firmly with the 
greeting: 

"Meester Blank, my fren'." 

And while he grips, his fellow torpedo approaches, 
generally, but not always, from behind, and fires the 
leath shots. O'B anion was a torpedo victim. The reader 

107 
I 



AL CAPONE 

will recall that the coroner named both Scalise and 
Anselmi as his killers. 

The trap into which Mike Genna had walked with 
his eyes wide open was divulged by a prominent Italian 
to a friend at the detective bureau soon after the June 
13th shooting. 

"Mike," he said, "was on his way to execution, when 
the squad car officers were mistaken for enemy gang- 
sters and fired upon. Momentarily, it upset the plans of 
Scalise and Anselmi, but in the end it was all right, as 
Mike was killed anyway." 

Antonio, master mind of the Genna clan, was the 
third to die — a month later lacking five days, on July 
8th. Antonio was quite a fellow — the Beau Brummell 
of the family — a good mixer and a shrewd business 
man of his kind. 

He was a patron of the opera and a regular theater- 
goer, always in full dress regalia. He knew the head 
waiters in the hot spots of the night life. Most often he 
was to be found in the Valentine Inn, a bandbox cafe 
of the Loop, where Gladys Bagwell entertained. 

Gladys was from the little town of Chester, down 
south in the Illinois corn belt. She was the daughter of 
the Rev. Mr. J. H. Bagwell, Baptist minister, and used 
to play the organ and lead the choir in singing every! 
Sabbath morn at Sunday School and church services... 

She tired of it and came to Chicago in 1920. Her am- 
bition was to go on the stage. She made the rounds of 
the booking agencies, but there were no openings at 
that time, even for a winsome girl with a sweet con- 
tralto voice. She could wait. She would never let the 

108 






AL CAPONE 

folks in Chester say she had failed. She was youth and 
inexperience. 

Up one flight and a turn to the left, where the in- 
candescents wore green goggles in the crepuscular 
recesses of the booths; where the dance floor was no 
bigger than a billiard table; where setups were a dol- 
lar and you drew from the hip — there at the baby 
grand, playing jazz for the collegians and singing senti- 
mental ditties for A. W. O. L. husbands — Gladys was 
still waiting when her man appeared. 

Her man was Antonio. He was good to her. When 
the third Genna was bumped off, Gladys was discovered 
living in a $100-a-week suite at the Congress Hotel, 
with platinum bracelets, pearl necklaces, diamond 
rings, fur coats, and a wardrobe of pretty things for 
all occasions. In a downtown garage there was a sports 
roadster with her monogram on the door. She spoke 
of Antonio as "my fiance." They were to have been 
married in November. He carried a key to the suite. 

It was Gladys he asked them to notify as he lay dy- 
ing in the hospital, and when she came, to lean over 
him with the question, "Who got you, Tony?" the 
lips that until then had remained sealed by gangdom's 
code, murmured: 

"The Cavalier." 

And that, it was learned months later, was Antonio 
Spano, imported from his native Sicily in 1921 by the 
Gennas solely because of his ability as a gunman and 
killer. His appellation of "The Cavalier" was a syno- 
nym of dread in Mafia circles, in which he was promi- 
nent. The Gennas trusted him as they did Scalise and 

109 



AL CAPONE 

Anselmi. He was another torpedo. The police never ap- 
prehended Spano, due to their misconstruction of the 
term. They concluded a man named "Cavallero" was 
the killer, and based their whole search on that without 
regard to the Italian interpretation of the term in the 
sense of trusted friend or bodyguard — the counterpart 
of the French chevalier d'honneur. 

It was the Cavalier , then, who telephoned Tony the 
morning of July 8, 1925, requesting that Tony meet 
him at Grand Avenue and Curtis Street, on the near 
northwest side of the city. 

"Two of the Gennas had been killed in as many 
months," a police informant explained. "They were 
frightened and suspicious. Tony never would have gone 
there for George Bugs Moran or Schemer Drucci of 
the O'Banion gang; or for any of the Capones, and 
that included Scalise and Anselmi. But he would go 
for the Cavalier. And he did." 

He drove over in his car. There, at the rendezvous, 
was the faithful Spano, waiting with outstretched arm. ; 
He grasped Tony's right hand in a vise-like grip, the, 
while exclaiming: 

"Meester Genna, my fren'." 

Out of a doorway, two figures with .3% automatics 
materialized. They eased over within three feet of 
Tony and let him have it in the back. 

That was the police reconstruction of Tony's end and J 
that was why, they said, Tony, as he lay dying, mur- 
mured to Gladys: 

"The Cavalier." 

Overnight the power of the once mighty Gennas 
waned. Three of the six brothers were dead, and the 

110 



AL CAPONE 

word was passed that Peter, Jim, and Sam were 
marked. They didn't wait to see. They fled to the old 
home town of Marsala, Sicily. Jim was in such a hurry 
that he left his wife behind to sell the $50,000 worth 
of furnishings of their apartment at 925 Lakeside 
Place, on the North Side. 

The truest indication of the Gennas' decline in civic 
and political importance was at Tony's obsequies. 
Whereas Angelo had rated a $10,000 bronze casket, 
$25,000 in floral offerings, and a magnificent turnout — 
all the honors, in other words, of a first class gangster 
burial — Tony was put away with few flowers, with no 
crowds, and in an ordinary wooden coffin. His funeral 
was a flop. 

Chicago was rid of the six brothers, but not of their 
followers. Some of these were secretly ambitious, none 
more so than the music-loving Sam Samoots Amatuna 
of the lavender color schemes in shirts, ties, socks, and 
cars. He had been the Gennas' pay-off man when their 
alky-cooking industry was flourishing, and the best 
police department money could buy was the Maxwell 
Street station. In his evening hours he was manager of 
Citro's restaurant, a political rendezvous. 

Samoots saw in the fall of the House of Genna his 
opportunity to get in the bucks. He would seize con- 
trol of the Unione Sicilione. Barnum was right. He 
found willing listeners in Eddie Zion, the roadhouse 
weeper,, and Abraham Bummy Goldstein, better known 
is Pete the Peddler, who ran a wildcat distillery. 

Samoots hastily recruited the shattered remnants 

; )f the Genna gang, descended on the headquarters of 

he Unione, and, with a show of artillery, declared 

111 



AL CAPONE 

himself president. He moved into the office occupied 
by the late Angelo Genna. The date was July 2 2d. 
To quote from the coroner's records: 

November 13, 1925: Sam Samoots Amatuna, successor to 
Angelo Genna as president of the Unione Sicilione, killed as 
he sat. in a barber chair getting a shave and manicure. 

November 17, 1925: Eddie Zion, roadhouse keeper, friend 
of Samoots Amatuna, killed as he returned from Amatuna's 
funeral. 

November 30, 1925 : Abraham Bummy Goldstein, killed in 
a drugstore in the valley by two assailants who stole a shotgun 
from a detective bureau squad car parked near by. 






So ends the tale of the quest of the Gennas and their 
henchmen for the Golden Fleece of prohibition Chi- 
cago. 

Capone's personal choice, Antonio Lombardo, was the 
next incumbent of the office, and it is significant that 
with his accession the killings ceased for three years,' 
and there was a semblance of peace. It recalls the say- 
ing that Capone's name in certain quarters was a better 
insurance of law and order than was a police depart- 
ment. 

With Lombardo finally seated and the Gennas quieted 
forever, Capone was free to direct his attention to the 
O'Banions. He owed them a few calls, which he in-, 
tended to repay as soon as possible. They beat him to' 
it. His escape from death was even closer than the 
day they sent his car to the junk-heap. 



112 



PART THREE 



w 



ITH the thumb an|ptrigger-finger of his right 
hand, Al Capone gripped the handle of a coffee- 



cup, his forearm describin 
lifted it to his lips. Shoulde 
lifted it with the calm delib 
temporarily detached fro 
and intent upon the agreea 
the inner man. /^\ 

Beside him was Slipper 
savage wop, member df\l 
later served the year's pr; 
delphia. The hanosVf the 
cash register in the K^w 
dicated 1:15 p.m. Thei 
tion dictated by long ga 
were seated at the last 
the west wall. A lunch 
east wall. The interior o 
feet wide by fifty feet de 

Al never tasted his co 
a thud on the wfiij 
His right hand glide 
to the left armpit. 

Typewriters ! 

Rio was quicker. Hisrfte 
risen from his chair, his jey\ 

n: 



the arc of a circle as he 
stooped, head inclined, he 

tion of one whose mind is 
he world of large affairs 

hum^um of re victualing 

<ank Rio, alias Cline, the 

personal bodyguard, who 

n term with him in Phila- 

ght-day clock above the 

fine Restaurant, Cicero, in- 

n faced front, a precau- 

lahd experience, and they 

fifteen tables lined against 

nter runs the length of the 

e restaurant is twenty-five 

He set the cup down with 

ble-top and cocked an ear. 

ss his chest, under his coat, 



)lver drawn, he was half 
on the double doors lead- 



/ 



AL CAPONE 

ing to the street. He held the attitude while all about 
him pandemonium reigned. Waiters ran for the kitchen. 
Diners — it was the busy period and the place was 
crowded — ducked under tables and lay flat on the floor. 

Typewriters and ukelele music. Nearer, now — 
louder. Right in front of the restaurant. Past it. Dying 
away. Gone. Silence. 

Al rose and started for the double doors. Before he 
had taken a step, Rio was on top of him. He made a 
flying tackle, landing on Al's shoulders and hurling 
him to the floor. He climbed astride him, pinioned his 
arms, and, gazing down into his astonished counte- 
nance, said: 

"It's a stall, boss, to get you out. The real stuff 
hasn't started. You stay here." 

Fast thinking, that. Al stayed, on the floor, with the 
rest of the diners. Rio's premonition was correct and 
balked the boldest attempt ever made upon his life. It 
was the day of the O'B anions' raid on the feudal 
\ baron's stronghold, and for the uninitiate it may be 
explained that in gangster vernacular a Thompson sub- 
machine gun is never anything but a typewriter and 
the drum holding the fifty or one hundred bullets a 
ukelele. 

The three musketeers — Moran, Weiss, and Drucci — 
chose a golden autumn afternoon for their incredible 
exploit, when Cicero was en fete for its big occasion 
of the year — the fall meet at the historic turf course 
of Hawthorne. The track is forty-five minutes west of 
the Loop and a mile and a half south of Al's head- 
quarters. 

Thoroughbreds were there from all over the coun- 

114 



AL CAPONE 

try, including entries from Mr. Silk Hat Terry Drug- 
gan's Sanola Farm stables. He will be recalled as a 
partner of Mr. Frankie Lake of the Cook County beer- 
age, their fortunes having attained dimensions where 
they could indulge their hobby of horse-racing. In fact, 
their fortunes had interested the Government so much 
that Mrs. Mabel G. Reinecke, then collector of internal 
revenue, had filed suit to recover from them $517,842 
in income taxes. 

They were Al's bosom pals and business associates, 
as was also, by the way, the mysterious Louis Barko, 
who had no string of horses, but kept books on them 
when not otherwise employed. 

Of the legitimate racing men who chanced to be 
around when the ukelele music started there was Clyde 
Freeman of May, Louisiana. He and his wife and their 
five-year-old boy, Clyde, Jr., were sitting in their car. 
They had eaten and were preparing to go to the track, 
where the first field was to be sent away at 2:30 p. m. 
They played the role of innocent bystanders. 

Let the reader visualize the block. In the process, 
doubtless, there will come to mind the good, old- 
fashioned movie of Western life — the main street of 
bars, dance halls, and general store — the cowboys rid- 
ing full tilt down it, firing their six shooters into the 
air. Yet that is mild — vapidly so — compared with the 
reality of events in Cicero the afternoon of September 
20, 1926. 

The locale is the forty-eight-hundred block of West 
Twenty-second Street, just across the western city 
limits of Chicago; a boulevard eighty feet wide with a 
double-tracked street-car line in the middle. The at- 

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AL CAPONE 

tack centered on the Hawthorne Hotel, midway of the 
block, at 4823-27, on the south side of the street. The 
building is in the shape of a square U, the two wings 
extending back to a third unit in the rear connecting 
them. A spacious courtway thus separates the second 
and third floors. The first floor is roofed and this pro- 
vides for the twenty-five-foot passageway leading from 
the street entrance to the lobby. 

Let the reader remember that the attacking party 
came from the west, moving east on Twenty-second 
Street to Chicago — none knows how far. The block 
consists of one, two, and three story buildings. On the 
far west corner, on the hotel's side of the street, is a 
hardware store; then a radio shop; then a paint and 
varnish store; then a small drygoods store. Next it is 
the Anton Hotel, run by a Capone henchman, and ad- 
joining it, the Hawthorne. The street frontage of both 
hotels is given over to shops — a barber, a delicatessen, 
a laundry — and finally the Hawthorne Restaurant, 
three doors east of the Hawthorne Hotel entrance. 
Next it is a fifty-foot vacant lot used for parking cars. 

The north side of Twenty-second Street was neutral 
territory and does not enter into the action story. It 
may, however, be briefly sketched to give the reader 
the complete picture. Its general architectural features 
were the same as those of the south side. Near the 
far west corner was a garage; then a red brick flat 
building; next it, a florist's; a lady barber; the Pinkert 
State Bank; a lingerie shop; a confectionery; a res- 
taurant; a cigar store; and a corner pharmacy. Doc- 
tors, lawyers, dentists, and real estate brokers occupied 
the second-floor offices above these. 

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AL CAPONE 

An average business block of an average suburb, a 
stranger would have said. All the commonplaces of 
America's Main Street, even to the women with market 
baskets and babies, and the red and green automatic 
stop-and-go traffic light at the intersection of Forty- 
eighth Avenue. 

Here it was that the O'Banions' offensive in the 
Bootleg Battle of the Marne reached the peak of its 
fury. Twice before they had invaded Capone's Chicago 
territory — once to riddle his sedan at Fifty-fifth and 
State streets, once to shoot down Torrio. Now they were 
to play the ukeleles right on the doorstep of his Cicero 
abode. 

They came in eight touring cars. The methodical 
fashion in which the attack was delivered convinced 
the police that it had been carefully rehearsed. Every 
maneuver was timed. The lead car was a block in ad- 
vance of the other seven. It was the decoy, to draw the 
Capones to the doors and windows, and its typewriter 
was the one first heard by Al and Rio. It was shooting 
blank cartridges. It was equipped like a detective 
bureau squad car with a gong on the left running board. 
The gong was going as it sped through the block at 
fifty miles an hour. 

Thirty seconds behind it came the other seven cars. 
The interval between each was not more than ten feet, 
and as they entered the block they slowed down to 
fifteen miles an hour. They passed the hardware store 
on the corner, the radio shop, the paint and varnish 
store, and the drygoods store without opening up. But 
when the first car came abreast of the Anton Hotel, 
a machine gunner began spraying its facade up and 

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AL CAPONE 

down and across in the manner of a fireman at the 
nozzle of a hose. 

When this automobile arrived in front of the Haw- 
thorne Restaurant, it stopped, the others moving up to 
close their intervals. Then from five cars streams of 
bullets poured into every door and window from the 
Anton to the restaurant where Al and Rio lay on the 
floor under the rear table. 

The sixth car halted directly at the entrance and 
passageway leading to the lobby of the Hawthorne 
Hotel. A man in a khaki shirt and brown overalls 
stepped out, strode over to the door, knelt on the side- 
walk, and coolly aimed a Thompson sub-machine gun. 
The seventh car apparently contained the rear guard 
of the attackers, for its occupants, who were armed 
with sawed-off shotguns, did not participate in the 
shooting. When the khaki-shirted artillerist went into 
action they maintained a close watch over him. 

He used a ukelele with one hundred shells, and his 
typewriter was set for rapid fire. That means six hun- 
dred shots a minute including reloading, as an expert 
can slide in a new drum in four seconds. So the O'Ban- 
ions' serenade of Capone's personal headquarters in 
Cicero lasted a little less than ten seconds. 

It was intended for the lobby and the artillerist's 
aim was perfect. As he pressed the trigger he moved the 
gun slowly back and forth the width of the passage- 
way. The results are still visible — neat horizontal lines 
of .45 caliber bullet holes against the wall, some the 
height of a man's waist, some breast-high. 

The reader will understand just how deadly was that 
serenade when it is explained that Thompson sub- 

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AL CAPONE 

machine gun fire will cut down a tree trunk twenty-four 
inches in circumference at a distance of thirty feet, 
and will penetrate one-quarter-inch steel armor-plate. 

There was no encore to the serenade. As the last 
bullet left the drum, the artillerist leisurely rose and 
returned to the car, and the driver honked the horn 
three times. This seemed to be the preconcerted signal 
for departure, for the cavalcade immediately got under 
way, moving east on Twenty-second Street toward 
Chicago. It was soon lost to view. 

Police estimates were that a thousand shots were 
fired. Every pane of glass in the guest rooms of the 
Anton and Hawthorne hotels exposed to the street was 
shattered, as well as the doors and windows of the 
barber shop, delicatessen, and laundry in the latter 
building. Woodwork was splintered and plastering 
chipped off walls and ceilings. The Hawthorne Restau- 
rant, where bullets sang over the heads of Al and Rio 
and threescore other diners, suffered similarly. 

"This is war/' declared the Chicago Herald and Ex- 
aminer in its leading editorial the morning after. 

Strangely enough, nobody was killed. The instinct 
of self-preservation sent people scurrying to safety as 
soon as the decoy car appeared and kept them there 
till all danger was past. Clyde Freeman, the Louisiana 
racing man, and Mrs. Freeman and their five-year-old 
boy, were the only neutrals that did not make a get- 
away. The attack was in full swing before they realized 
what was happening. They were compelled to sit in their 
automobile, which was parked near the entrance of 
the Hawthorne Hotel, from start to finish of it. 

One bullet bored Mr. Freeman's hat, another grazed 

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AL CAPONE 

his son's knee, and a third clipped the boy's coat. A 
fourth struck Mrs. Freeman in the arm, and flying 
glass from the windshield was imbedded in her right 
eye. Their automobile was riddled. 

Al was among the first to emerge from the restaurant 
when the O'B anions left, and he immediately began 
inquiring about casualties. He did not know the Free- 
mans, but when he learned of Mrs. Freeman's injury, 
he introduced himself and insisted on assuming finan- 
cial responsibility for it. It is a matter of record that 
he paid out $10,000 to specialists to save the sight of 
her eye. He also reimbursed the shopkeepers for dam- 
age sustained. 

Another victim was the mysterious Mr. Louis Barko, 
who described himself as "just a lone-wolf gambler." 
He stopped a bullet in the shoulder. He was a perma- 
nent guest of Capone's Cicero hostelry and he inter- 
ested the chief of detectives of that day, William 
Schoemaker. 

"This fellow," said Shoes, as soon as he set eyes on 
Barko, "is one of the four men that tried to kill Earl 
Hymie Weiss and Schemer Drucci a month ago in Chi- 
cago. We pinched him running away after the shoot- 
ing, and he gave the name of Paul Valerie, 3533 
Walnut Street, a fake address. 

Shoes had established a major link in the series of 
retaliations between the Capones and the O'Banions, 
for it was the attempt on the lives of Weiss and Drucci 
that led to the machine-gun raid on Al's Cicero strong- 
hold. 

This attempt was outstanding for two reasons: ( 
It demonstrated gangland 's complete disregard for 

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AL CAPONE 

law in settling its differences; (2) it was as spectacular 
an exhibition of gunnery as was ever witnessed in down- 
town Chicago streets, with the possible exception of the 
killing of Antonio Lombardo in the Loop, a few steps 
from the world's busiest corner. 

Drucci was living at the Congress Hotel, of Repub- 
lican national convention fame, which fronts Grant 
Park for the whole of the five-hundred block in South 
Michigan Avenue. He and Weiss had breakfasted to- 
gether and then had started out for a stroll. Because of 
the early morning hour — 10 o'clock — they probably 
thought no enemy gangsters would be astir. 

Both, of course, had their automatics harnessed 
under their left armpits, and Drucci was carrying $13,- 
200 in bills in an inner coat pocket. They headed south. 
It was a fine, sunshiny August day. The boulevard was 
filled with cars of business and professional men bound 
for the Loop. Nobody noticed the two O'B anions — 
apparently — and they arrived without adventure at 
Michigan and Ninth Street, an intersection correspond- 
ing somewhat in prominence to Forty-second Street 
and Fifth Avenue, New York City. 

The Standard Oil Building, which houses the offices 
of the sanitary district trustees of Chicago, is located 
on the southwestern corner. Drucci would never admit 
that this was his destination. He would only say that 
he was going to close a real estate deal and that the 
money was for that purpose. 

The peculiar fact was that he and Weiss were "put 
on the spot" exactly in front of the building's entrance. 
It excited so much comment at the time that Morris 
Eller, then a member of the district, who was in his 

121 



AL CAPONE 

office when the shooting occurred, issued a statement 
denying that Drucci was en route to see him. 

Also among those present was John A. Sbarbaro, as- 
sistant State's attorney and the undertaker who buried 
Dion Q'Banion. He said: 

"I had gone to the district offices to confer with 
President Lawrence F. King. I was talking to Trustee 
Eller when the shooting began. I went down to see 
what it was about.' 7 

A car with four men drove up to the curb as Weiss 
and Drucci crossed Ninth Street. One remained at the 
wheel. The other three, each armed with a brace of 
revolvers, opened fire. Weiss ducked, which is a tribute 
to his sagacity, rather than a reflection on his valor. 
That was never impeached. He knew when and where 
to use a gun. 

The impetuous Drucci whipped out his .38 and 
waded in. He was one against three, but no matter. 
Two of them leaped from the car to get better aim and 
Drucci danced about like a fancy boxer to keep both, 
as well as the gunman in the car, in front of him. The 
sidewalk, which had been thronged, was cleared at the 
first shot, pedestrians seeking cover in doorways, al- 
leys, and office buildings. Automobile traffic on that 
side of the street halted abruptly. 

The popping of the revolvers could be heard foi 
blocks. Altogether thirty bullets were fired. Many wen! 
wild and a few cracked into windows and drilled holes 
in the tonneaus of cars parked near by. None of the 
participants were wounded, but an interested spect* 
tor, James Cardan of 6807 South Aberdeen Street, w< 
hit in the leg. 

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AL CAPONE 

The shooting ended as suddenly as it started, due to 
the fact that the police unexpectedly hove in sight. The 
gunmen's car sped away without waiting for the two 
who were battling with Drucci on the sidewalk. He 
ran to an automobile occupied by C. C. Bassett of 
9545 Calumet Avenue, pointed his empty revolver at 
him and commanded: 

"Take me away, and make it snappy!" 

Before Bassett could comply, a squad of detectives 
had surrounded the car and placed Drucci under ar- 
rest. 

"It wasn't no gang fight," he hastened to say. "A 
stick-up, that's all. They wanted my roll." 

The fleeing Barko, alias Valerie, was seized and Chief 
Schoemaker had Drucci look him over. 

"Never saw him before," said Drucci. 

He was only according Barko the gangland ameni- 
ties, which Barko promptly repaid within a month, fol- 
lowing the machine-gun raid on Cicero. 

Chief Schoemaker knew Barko as the one Capone 
man who had actually seen the raiders. He was on the 
sidewalk when they arrived, making for the hotel. The 
bullet that lodged in his shoulder caught him as he 
dodged into the entrance. The chief took him to head- 
quarters and brought in Weiss, Drucci, George Bugs 
Moran, and Peter Gusenburg for his exclusive inspec- 
tion. 

"Never saw them before," said Barko. 

And that was that — as far as the police could get 
with those particular shootings. 

It was Peter Gusenburg, by the way, who was to die 
with his brother, Frank, and five other O'Banions in 

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AL CAPONE 

the St. Valentine's Day massacre in a North Clark 
Street garage, two years and seven months later. This 
was to shock even the hard-boiled ex-convict Moran 
into forgetting the code of silence and exclaiming: 

"Only the Capone gang kills like that! " 

Barko "never saw them before," but three weeks to 
a day after the O'Banions' shelling of Cicero, the guns 
roared curtains for Earl Hymie Weiss, in a daylight 
ambuscade of devilish ingenuity; the most scientific 
killing, in fact, of Chicago's gang warfare, surpassed in 
boldness of conception only by the St. Valentine's Day 
massacre. 

Weiss, the Pole, was the antithesis of Capone, the 
Neapolitan; unemotional, of a cold ferocity that made 
him a dread figure to both friend and foe. He was a 
combination of brain and brute and said to be the only 
man Capone ever really feared. He maintained head- 
quarters as Big Shot of the Northsiders on the second 
floor of the two-story building at 738 North State 
Street housing the florist shop of William F. Schofield, 
partner of the late Dion O'Banion. Here, opposite the 
Holy Name Cathedral, Dion was torpedoed, and here 
his successor died. 

The torpedo stratagem never would have fooled the 
abysmal-minded Weiss, himself the founder of a new 
school of lethal technique with his "taking-him-for-a- 
ride" formula, which not only motorized murder, but 
also made the solution of the crime practically impos- 
sible. A stolen car, or, if the slayers used their own, 
stolen license plates; the victim in the front seat; as- 
sassins in the rear ; a bullet in the head at a convenient 
spot; body tossed out in an unfrequented street, or 

124 






AL CAPONE 

alongside a quiet country road — that was Weiss' in- 
vention, now used by gangland throughout the U. S. A. 

Original means would have to be employed to get 
such a fellow, something unlike anything that had \ 
characterized the one hundred and thirty killings since 
the bootleg war started in September of 1923. 

A few days after the raid on Cicero, a young man 
giving the name of Oscar Lundin applied for a room at 
740 North State Street, next door to Schofield's shop. 
He wanted the second floor front, but it was not avail- 
able. He took a hall room until it should be. The ten- 
ant moved out Tuesday, October 5th, and Lundin 
moved in. In the meantime, a woman had rented a third 
floor back room at No. 1 West Superior Street, which 
intersects State on the south of the florist shop. 

Lundin's room commanded a slanting sweep of the 
front of the shop, enough to rake it with machine- 
gun fire; that of the woman, the rear door and the 
alley approach. Neither of these participated in the 
ambush. Their mission was simply to rent the rooms; 
to "front" to the landladies. They then vanished. Their 
identities were never disclosed. 

Testimony of witnesses at the coroner's inquest was 
that the killers resembled Sicilians. The police recalled 
that Capone had gone east following the Weiss-Drucci- 
Moran attack on his car and the shooting of Torrio 
and had returned with fifteen of these human robots 
of the trigger. Ostensibly they were to augment his 
bodyguard, which in the spring of 1926 was increased 
to eighteen men. 

Presumably, six killers were assigned for the Weiss 
job, as in each of the rooms three chairs were found 

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AL CAPONE 

grouped at the windows, with a semicircle of cigarette 
butts — hundreds of them — on the floor about each 
chair. The vigil began October 5 th and lasted until 
the afternoon of Monday, October 11th, the killers 
waiting for the propitious moment, or probably for 
a time when the street was clear of pedestrians. 

Thus, for seven days Weiss was a living dead man, 
walking in and out of his headquarters under the muz- 
zles of Thompson sub-machine guns not fifty feet 
away — guns equipped with drums holding a hundred .45 
caliber steel-jacketed bullets — and those of revolvers 
and sawed-off shotguns. This is known because the 
weapons were left behind. 

The ambush at No. 1 West Superior Street was not 
utilized, the men at 740 North State turning the trick. 
Weiss and four companions, stepping from his car, 
were approaching the shop to enter and ascend to the 
second floor. The four were W. W. O'Brien, a criminal 
attorney; Benjamin Jacobs, politician of the Bloody 
Twentieth Ward, and O'Brien's investigator; Patrick 
Murray, beer peddler, allied with Weiss; and Sam 
Peller, Weiss' chauffeur. 

Weiss sprawled on the sidewalk with ten bullets in 
his body, dying without regaining consciousness. Mur- 
ray stopped seven of the .45 caliber steel jackets and 
fell dead in his tracks. Attorney O'Brien, Peller and 
Jacobs were seriously wounded, but lived. Lived but 
told no tales. They hadn't seen a thing; couldn't iden- 
tify the killers; didn't know what it was all about. And 
another coroner's inquest petered out like a Cubs' 
rally in a world series. 

General Al the Scarface, in shirtsleeves and house 

126 






AL CAPONE 

slippers, received callers at the Hawthorne Hotel, 
Cicero, the day his hated foeman was laid on an under- 
taker's slab without having had opportunity either to 
draw his automatic or finger the rosary he always 
carried. The undertaker was John A. Sbarbaro. 

"I'm sorry Weiss was killed/' he said, "but I didn't 
have anything to do with it. I telephoned the detective 
bureau I would come in if they wanted me to, but they 
told me they didn't want me. I knew I would be blamed 
for it, but why should I kill Weiss?" 

"He knows why," said Chief of Detectives William 
Schoemaker, and minced no words in accusing Capone 
of the double murder. Chief of Police Morgan A. Col- 
lins was just as explicit. His theory was that "Capone 
played safety first by importing the killers, expert 
machine gunners, and then hurrying them out of 
town." 

Mark the ambiguous situation: The two heads of 
the city's law-enforcing agency express positive opin- 
ions as to Capone's guilt, yet he is not molested. He 
even solicits an invitation from the detective bureau 
to come in for questioning and is snubbed. The reader 
I may well be curious. Let Chief Collins explain: 

"It's a waste of time to arrest him. He's been in 
1 before on other murder charges. He has his alibi. He 
was in Cicero when the shooting occurred." 

The Chicago police department had surrendered to 
Capone — unconditionally. Its morale was sapped. It 
could fight the underworld of crime, but not the over- 
world of crooked politics; and the alliance between the Nf 
two had become plain to the dumbest copper on a 
beat. The sapping process had been going on for months 

127 






AL CAPONE 

and its cumulative effect was unknowingly voiced by 
Chief Collins in the Weiss case with his, "It's a waste 
of time to arrest him." 

The debacle of the police department may be said 
to date from a triple machine-gunning the night oi 
April 27, 1926, when there died William H. McSwig- 
gin, assistant State's attorney of Cook County; Thomas 
Duffy, barber, beer peddler, and precinct captain in 
McSwiggin's faction of the Republican party, and 
James J. Doherty, gangster, whom McSwiggin had pre- 
viously prosecuted for murder, Doherty being ac- 
quitted. 

They were riding about together, for reasons never 
satisfactorily explained, visiting the saloons and speak- 
easies of Capone's West Side territory. Duffy and 
Doherty were henchmen of the brothers Myles and 
Klondike O'Donnell, the guerrillas of the bootleg war, 
aligned sometimes with the O'Banions, again with the 
Capones, depending on the financial advantages pre- 
sented — -but generally going it alone. 

They had had a sort of entente with Capone when : 
he entered Cicero, but had called it off. Now they , 
were his bitter enemies and business rivals. For months 
they had been muscling in on the West Side beer trade 
while he was busy with Weiss, Drucci, and Moran on 
the north. One of the customers they had taken away ; 
from him was Harry Madigan at 5615 West Roose- 
velt Road, Cicero. 

"When I wanted to start a saloon in Cicero more 
than a year ago, Capone wouldn't let me," Madigan 
told Chief of Detectives Schoemaker. "I finally obtained 
strong political pressure and was able to open. Then 

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AL CAPONE 

Capone came to me and said I would have to buy his 
beer, so I did. 

"A few months ago Doherty and Myles O'Donnell 
came to me and told me they could sell me better beer 
than Capone beer, which was then needled. They did 
and it only cost $50 a barrel, where Capone charged 
me $60. 

"I changed, and upon my recommendation so did 
several other Cicero saloonkeepers." 

The O'Donnells manifested as little regard for Al's 
sinister reputation as had their fellow Irisher, Dion 
O'Banion. Their audacious invasion of Cicero was a 
challenge to his gang leadership and an assault upon 
his personal dignity. It was as if they had tweaked his 
nose. 

Around eight o'clock the night of April 27th, Mc- 
Swiggin and his party, in a new Lincoln sedan belong- 
ing to Doherty, parked in front of Madigan's saloon. 
With them were Myles O'Donnell, whom they had 
picked up along the way, and Edward Hanley, a former 
policeman, Doherty's chauffeur. 

Their intention, the police surmised, was to drop in 
on Harry for a few social drinks and a friendly word 
or two, as a token of mutual good-will and business 
esteem. It is a custom much in use amongst enterprising 
beer merchants with good cash customers. 

McSwiggin, Duffy, and Doherty, alighting first, had 
not cleared the narrow strip of parkway between the 
curb and sidewalk when they were caught by a stream 
of machine-gun bullets fired from a car that had 
sneaked up alongside, halted momentarily, then sped 
on. They fell, mortally wounded. Hanley, still at the 

129 



AL CAPONE 

wheel, and O'Donnell, just stepping out, escaped in- 
jury. 

Duffy managed to crawl to the shelter of a tree, 
behind which he died. In a pocket of his vest was found 
a paper calling for the transfer of a police sergeant. 
Hanley and O'Donnell lifted Doherty and McSwiggin 
into the sedan, probably in the belief that they still 
lived, and drove west to Berwyn, where the bodies were 
tossed out. They then headed north for Oak Park, 
where the sedan was abandoned. 

This crime, with its ugly political implications, 
roused Chicago temporarily from its sodden lethargy. 
The public clamor was such that a special prosecutor, 
former Judge Charles A. McDonald, was assigned to 
conduct an investigation. Five special grand juries 
were impaneled in the course of it, Mr. McDonald and 
his two assistants drew $34,125 from the county for 
their services; the mountain labored and this is what 
it brought forth: 

"On the whole, a review of years past gives no special 
occasion for alarm at the present moment. Crime in 
volume and type wheels and rotates in cycles. . . . 
The situation is well enough in hand to encourage the 
hope that there will be no outbreak on any such scale 
as in the recent past. . . ." 

This in the year 1926, when sixty- four gang slayings 
were committed in Chicago, with prosecutions in only 
three cases and all resulting in acquittals. The triple 
killing in which McSwiggin died never reached the 
prosecution stage. "Too much dynamite in it," as one 
sage observer commented. 

Capone was the first man sought by the police, 

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AL CAPONE 

owing to the effective work of Chief Schoemaker's men, 
which disclosed that A. V. Korecek, a West Side hard- 
ware dealer, had sold three Thompson sub-machine 
guns to a member of Capone's gang. 

Supplementing this evidence was the story of a 
Cicero citizen who said that he was in a restaurant in 
that town the night of April 27th and that he saw Al, 
his brother Ralph, and three others of the gang in 
agitated conversation. At the conclusion of it, Al went 
to a panel in the wall and got a machine-gun. His 
companions armed themselves with revolvers. They 
then made a hasty departure. It was 7 o'clock, an hour 
before the triple killing. 

So certain did it seem that the authorities finally had 
the goods on Capone that on May 5th a formal an- 
nouncement was issued, which the newspapers con- 
sidered so important that they put it on page one. 
Here it is: 

It has been established to the satisfaction of the state's at- 
torney's office and the detective bureau that Capone in person 
led the slayers of McSwiggin. It has become known that five 
automobiles carrying nearly thirty gangsters, all armed with 
Weapons ranging from pistols to machine guns, were used in 
the triple killing. 

It also has been found that Capone handled the machine 
gun, being compelled to this act in order to set an example of 
fearlessness to his less eager companions. The five automobiles, 
it has been learned, were used in hours of patient trailing of 
the doomed O'Donnell gang and later to make sure of escape. 

Al had disappeared. Much police activity ensued. 
Squads raided hangouts throughout the county. Road- 

131 



AL CAPONE 

houses immune hitherto were rudely entered at all 
hours of the day and night, and the press was duly 
informed of each and every movement. In Chicago, 
murder cases are tried in the newspapers long before 
they reach the courtroom. The police department and 
the State's attorney's office thus perform the double 
service of obliging both the public and criminals at 
large. It had been proclaimed in fat blackface type that 
"a secret warrant was issued for Al Capone charging 
him with murder." The extent to which Al benefited 
is of course speculative, but the fact is that no trace 
of him was obtained. 

Days became weeks. Weeks drifted into months. 
April passed into May, May into June, June into 
July; August was only five days away when he sent 
word that he was emerging from his retreat. He had 
been waiting for the public clamor to subside — as had 
also others as prominent in politics as he was in gang- 
dom. 

On Thursday, July 29th, Capone with his counsel, 
Attorney Thomas D. Nash, appeared before Chief 
Justice Thomas J. Lynch of the criminal court. As- 
sistant State's Attorney George E. Gorman stepped to 
the bar and said: 

"This complaint [the warrant charging murder; 
Capone was never indicted] was made by Chief of 
Detectives Schoemaker on cursory information and 
belief. Subsequent investigation could not legally sub- 
stantiate the information." 

Whereupon Chief Justice Lynch dismissed the case 
and Capone was free to resume business at the old 

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AL CAPONE 

stand. In the court room was McSwiggin's father, Ser- 
geant Anthony McSwiggin of the detective bureau, a 
stalwart old copper with a record of long and honorable 
service. 

"They pinned a medal on him and turned him loose," 
he said. 

The slaying left him a broken man, mentally and 
physically. 

"They killed me, too, when they killed my boy," 
he used to repeat. 

Mr. Gorman's little speech to the judge cost the 
taxpayers of Cook County $200,000. That is to say, the 
outlay in salaries to members of the police department 
and the State's attorney's staff for the three months' 
work on the case, and the current expenses of other 
parts of the legal machinery, approximated that sum. 

"They made me the goat," said Al. "McSwiggin was 
my friend. Doherty and Duffy were my friends. Why, 
I used to lend Doherty money. Just a few days before 
the shooting, my brother Ralph, Doherty, and Myles 
and Klondike O'Donnell were at a party together." 

No information was forthcoming from the O'Don- 
nells, although Myles had been an eyewitness and an 
intended victim. The law of the code prevailed with 
them. 

The triple killing produced the first of the Capone 
legends — stories not authenticated, but zealously cir- 
culated around night clubs and in speakeasy bars by 
those supposedly "in the know." It was that Sergeant 
Anthony McSwiggin journeyed to Cicero, cornered Al 
in the Hawthorne Hotel, and called him murderer; 

133 



AL CAPONE 

that Al drew his automatic, presented it to the dis- 
traught father, and said, "If you think I did it, shoot 
me." 

So profoundly did the crime impress itself upon the 
public consciousness that the phrase, "Who killed Mc- 
Swiggin?" has taken its place in the Chicago idiom as 
a term of banter, and is as much a commonplace with 
grown-ups as is, "Who killed Cock Robin?" with the 
children. 

The damning circumstances of the young prose- 
cutor's death and the studied impotency of the State's 
attorney's office to get at the facts that shouted of 
corruption in high places had the inevitable reaction 
in the police department that has been mentioned — 
the demoralization that was expressed by Chief Col- 
lins in the Weiss case with his, "It's a waste of time to 
arrest him." 

This was the period when the wags began labeling 
Al "the mayor of Crook County," and asserting Chicago 
had been sold down the river — of bootleg booze. The 
politicians were vaguely troubled. Al was looming too 
large for solid ivory comfort. He might become a cam- 
paign issue. Yet they were helpless, although they did 
not realize it. The situation was already beyond their 
control — it was the Frankenstein monster they had 
fabricated. 

Weiss' death removed the biggest threat at Capone's 
ascendancy, and he entered the zenith of his career. No 
more would the three musketeers ride hell-bent across 
the No Man's Land of Madison Street, nor would the 
Northsiders again prove formidable. Their stamina 
was literally shot to pieces. They lacked a leader. Nei- 

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AL CAPONE 

ther Moran nor Drucci was of the stuff to enable them 
to regain their prestige. 

Apropos, it may be explained that only four men 
were ever recognized as Big Shots in Chicago gang- 
land — Capone, Torrio, O'Banion, and Weiss. They 
embodied the qualifications that the appellation im- 
plied — executive ability, political acumen consonant 
with the times, commanding personality, and an in- 
stinctive hardihood that compelled respect and obe- 
dience among their followers. In the beginning, in 1923, 
there were many lesser chieftains, but as the elimina- 
tion process of the bootleg war continued, these grav- 
itated to one camp or the other until in the fall of 
1926 a gangster was known either as an O'Banion or 
a Capone man. 

The significance of Weiss' death, therefore, is ob- 
vious. Capone 's power on the north was undisputed, 
and his reputation enhanced accordingly. He was 
also supreme on the west. The killing of McSwiggin, 
Poherty, and Duffy had put a quietus on the O'Don- 
nells. The south was his, from the Loop to Chicago 
Heights. There remained only the great Southwest 
Side — and the perfidy of Polack Joe Saltis. That 
startled him as much as the revelations attending its 
discovery shocked the city. 

Saltis, the behemoth Pole, of the stolid mien, over- 
stuffed jowls, and lumbering gait, was and is one of 
the bizarreries of prohibition. Before the World War 
he was plodding along as a neighborhood saloonkeeper 
— first in Joliet, then over back of the yards, in the 
section where is concentrated the bulk of the Slavic 
population, whose men, women and children earn their 

135 



AL CAPONE 

livelihoods by the sweat of the brow in the packing 
plants and factories. 

Now the candy kid out there , in the Thirteenth 
Ward, was a vest-pocket gladiator named John Ding- 
bat O'Berta, ambitious politically, having run for 
alderman as well as State senator, and for a time a 
Republican committeeman. He married the dashing 
widow of Big Tim Murphy, racketeer and organizer 
of the Street Sweepers' Union, after Tim had been 
machine-gunned . 

Volstead, far from slaking the thirst of Dingbat's 
constituency or Saltis' clientele, seemed to intensify it. 
The demand for beer was overwhelming. There were 
more than 200,000 parched throats southwest of the 
yards. If there was one thing Saltis comprehended, it 
was the public thirst. He knew that the public invariably 
would quench it. He saw opportunity beckoning. He 
knew his breweries. He approached his friend, Dingbat, 
who was sympathetically inclined. Thus was formed the 
commercial partnership of the behemoth and the bantam. 

So well along on easy street were they within a year 
that Saltis bought himself a country estate in the 
Eagle River country of Wisconsin, where the wealthy 
sportsmen relax, and Dingbat took up golf. By 1925, 
when Capone was rising to power, they were firmly 
established, their milk route, as gangland calls it, 
numbering some two hundred saloons. Al did not bother 
them, other than to receive from Saltis a pledge of 
allegiance and a gentlemanly cut of the profits. 

Besides, he was busy in 1925 with the Gennas and 
in 1926 with the O'B anions. If Saltis ever came to 
mind it was not as a source of worry, because Saltis 

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AL CAPONE 

was his ally. So he thought until the October afternoon 
that Weiss died, and search of his clothing and the 
safe in the florist shop disclosed two remarkable docu- 
ments. 

Saltis and his chauffeur and bodyguard, Frank Lefty 
Koncil, had been indicted and were on trial for the 
murder of John Mitters Foley, one of a minor gang that 
had attempted to invade their southwestern territory. In 
Weiss' pocket was found a list containing the name of 
every man called for jury service in the trial — those ac- 
cepted, those rejected, and those not examined. In the 
safe was a paper with the names of all the State's wit- 
nesses. It was also learned that Weiss had raised a 
$100,000 defense fund. 

The disclosures were doubly sensational in that they 
bared the conspiracy against Capone and the collusion 
between attaches of the Criminal Courts Building and 
gangland to thwart justice. 

"Weiss and Saltis had joined forces to put Capone 
out of business," said Deputy Commissioner of Police 
John Stege. 

"Very disquieting rumors referring to the bribery 
of this jury have been prevalent," Prosecutor Lloyd D. 
Heth informed Judge Harry B. Miller, presiding at 
the trial, the day following the disclosures. "If we had 
definite proof we would set it up in the form of an 
affidavit and ask that a mistrial be called. I suggest the 
court call in the entire jury, tell them of the rumors, 
and ask whether any of them has been approached to 
return a particular kind of verdict." 

Judge Miller did so, and each of the jurors denied 
that he had been approached. The trial proceeded, but 

137 



AL CAPONE 

was abruptly halted the second day when one of the 
jurors became violently insane. A new jury was sworn 
in and again the trial was resumed. On November 9th 
a verdict of not guilty was voted. 

"I expected a different verdict on the evidence pre- 
sented/ ' said Judge Miller. "I think the evidence war- 
ranted a verdict of guilty." 

John Dingbat O'Berta had been indicted with Saltis 
and Koncil for Foley's murder, but had been granted 
a separate trial. With their acquittal, however, his 
case was stricken from the calendar with leave to re- 
instate, and there it rests. 

A hundred thousand dollars might buy Saltis an 
acquittal from the law for murder, as it had Scalise and 
Anselmi, but not one from Capone for a double-cross. 
He knew he was a dead man as soon as he should leave 
the protection of the county jail, unless he squared him- 
self. But how to do it? The slow-witted Saltis was in 
a quandary. He appealed to Dingbat. Promptly the 
bantam answered: 

"Maxie Eisen." 

There was reassurance in the mere mention of the 
name. The sly and wily Maxie, fish-market racketeer, 
to whom every pushcart peddler in Maxwell Street 
paid tribute, was the keenest thinker in the Chicago 
underworld, not excepting Jack Guzik. He had been 
identified with the O'Banions, but when the shooting 
became promiscuous after the killing of Dion, had de- 
cided that a trip around the world would be healthful. 
He returned the day Weiss was machine-gunned. The 
coincidence alarmed him. 

Dingbat would see his pal, Maxie. He found him 

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AL CAPONE 

eagerly disposed, his mental processes accelerated in 
proportion to his alarm. This conference, which had 
historic consequences, is illustrative of the difference 
in minds. Dingbat saw only the plight of an individual. 
Maxie perceived a complete situation. Dingbat looked 
no farther than the personal safety of Polack Joe. Maxie 
was alert to the safety of all concerned — all for one, 
and one for all, against the common enemy, the law. 

"The idea," said he to Dingbat, "is to call the war 
off. You're a bunch of saps, killing each other this way, 
and giving the cops a laugh. There's plenty of jack for 
everybody, as long as prohibition lasts. I'll talk to 
the boys." 

His proposal was received with hearty enthusiasm 
by Moran and Drucci; likewise by the guerrillas, Myles 
and Klondike O'Donnell. They were willing to accept 
any terms within reason. Maxie was ready to talk tur- 
key with the Big Shot. 

An ordinary fellow would have gone direct to Ca- 
pone. Not Maxie. He went to Antonio Lombardo, whom 
Al had seated as head of the Unione Sicilione. The 
cheese merchant and partner of Joseph Aiello in the 
commission brokerage firm was the pivot man of the 
Capone organization. Al leaned upon him for counsel 
in all matters, reposing a childlike trust in his business 
judgment. Maxie knew (1) that Lombardo would be 
in sympathy with his mission, and (2) that a word from 
him to Al would sink in and produce results. 

"Things are worse than when I left," remarked 
Maxie, speaking as the returned tourist. "These shoot- 
ings aren't doing anybody any good." 

Lombardo agreed. 

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AL CAPONE 

"I talked with Moran and Drucci, and the O'Don- 
nells," added Maxie, casually. "They're sick of it. 
So are Saltis and O'Berta." 

Lombardo's eyes lighted, but he was noncommittal. 
Maxie guilelessly changed the subject, and after a 
proper interval withdrew. He had not long to wait. 
Lombardo telephoned him the next day. Al wanted to 
see him. Another Eisen idea had gone over. 

With his olive branch in one hand and the white 
flag of truce in the other, the self-appointed pacificator 
again repaired to the cheese merchant's office to elab- 
orate his proposal and views. Al was impressed from 
the start. 

"You're right," he assented, "we're a bunch of saps, 
killing each other." 

The discussion, which amounted to a pourparler, 
was frank, earnest, and harmonious. At its conclusion 
Al asked Maxie 's advice as to the next step, which was 
precisely what Maxie wanted him to do. 

"You fellows should get together and have an under- 
standing," he said. 

It was jake with Al, if Maxie could arrange it. Maxie 
could. 

There followed two more pourparlers, to adjust 
preliminary details, and on Wednesday, October 20, 
1926, the gangsters' peace conference was held at the 
Hotel Sherman, in the shadow of the City Hall, across 
the street from the office of the chief of police. For the 
first time in years Al enjoyed the unpretentious status 
and prerogative of a common, ordinary citizen: He 
went abroad unattended and unarmed. His entourage 
of fifteen Sicilian gunmen, imported from New York, 

140 



AL CAPONE 

had a night off. One of those preliminary details was 
a stipulation that there should be neither bodyguards 
nor gats. 

Maxie, as chairman, sounded the keynote of the 
occasion in his opening address, when he said: 

"Let's give each other a break.'' 

The sentiment, which evoked loud cheers, kindled 
the enthusiasm of the delegates, and sent them into 
their humanitarian deliberations imbued with a spirit 
in keeping with the aims and purposes thereof. 

Some years ago a clergyman wrote a book, // Christ 
Came to Chicago. One wonders what the good man's 
reaction would have been could he have walked in on 
this conference. Here sat Al Capone, "by common re- 
pute and common police knowledge . . . head of a 
murderous gang"; beside him, Antonio Lombard©, to 
die by the gun in a rush-hour killing in the Loop; 
Jack Guzik, brother of Harry, the pander, and manager 
of the Capone bootleg syndicate; Ralph Sheldon, 
gangster and beer and alky peddler. 

Opposite them, handclasp distance across the table, 
sat George Bugs Moran, burglar, robber, and ex- 
i convict; Vincent the Schemer Drucci, crook, jewel thief, 
election terrorist, cop-hater, and shootin' fool. Thirty- 
one years old and with just six months more to live. 
He was to curse a rlatf oot once too often and get four 
I bullets from the automatic of youthful Danny Healy 
of the detective bureau. Moran and Drucci were the 
sole surviving leaders of the North Side crowd the 
Capones had been so industriously engaged in ex- 
; terminating since 1924. 

Next, reading from right to left, were William Skid- 

141 



AL CAPONE 

more, pot-bellied ex-saloonkeeper, ward heeler, and 
court fixer; Christian P. Barney Bertsche, highway- 
man, safe-blower, whilom inmate of a half-dozen pen- 
itentiaries; and Jack Zuta, divekeeper and their muscle 
man. They were specialists in vice and gambling. 
They had operated under the aegis of O'Banion, and in 
the heyday of the swashbuckling Irisher's regime had 
figured many a time and oft in dirty work at the cross- 
roads for the Capones. Now a new deal was on. They 
were willing to forget bygones, shake with Al, and tell 
him he was a great guy. 

At the head of the table was Maxie, in his dual 
role of chairman and proxy delegate for the absent 
brothers. These were Saltis and Koncil, still in jail 
and glad of it, and the O'Donnells, whose fortitude had 
not regained par since the triple slaying of Duffy, 
Doherty, and McSwiggin. 

Here they sat — Al and the gentry of the new era; 
thieves, highwaymen, panders, murderers, ex-convicts> 
thugs, and hoodlums — human beasts of prey, once 
skulking in holes as dark as the sewers of Paris, now 
come out in the open, thrust up by Volstead and cor- 
rupt politics to the eminence of big business men. Here 
they sat, partitioning Chicago and Cook County into 
trade areas, covenanting against society and the law, 
and going about it with the assurance of a group of 
directors of United States Steel or Standard Oil trans- 
acting routine matters. 

The latter analogy is rather apt. The history of the 
development of the bootleg industry in five-to-one-wet 
Chicago is essentially that of any industry dealing 
in a basic commodity. Its trend was toward combine 

142 






AL CAPONE 

tion and centralization of power. Its methods of re- 
straining competition were more primitive than those, 
say, of Standard Oil. In place of the rebate, the pipe- 
line, and unfair price-cutting, it used the bullet. Like 
Standard Oil it became a supertrust, and there the 
analogy ends; for whereas the courts in 1911 dissolved 
Standard Oil, this group was apparently beyond the 
jurisdiction of any tribunal in the land. 

Perhaps one of the outstanding facts of the so-called 
peace conference was that this bootleg monopoly had 
finally been established after almost four years of 
bloodshed and a toll of one hundred and thirty-five 
lives, and that its boss was Al Capone. Evidence of that 
was irrefutable. The delegates yessed him pro and con. 
Their compliance with his wishes was sycophantic. He 
dictated the peace-pact terms and they accepted them 
without a murmur. Really, be it said to APs credit, 
there was nothing in them to murmur about. They were 
liberal and equable, as far as they went. They stip- 
ulated: 

1. General amnesty. 

2. No more murders or beatings. 

3. All past killings and shootings attributed to gun- 
men affiliated with Chicago mobs to be looked on as 
closed incidents. 

4. All ribbing (malicious gossip) carried between the 
factions by meddlesome policemen, or presented 
through the medium of the press, old telegrams and 
letters and other documents, dated prior to the peace 
treaty, to be disregarded. 

5. Leaders of factions to be held responsible for any 
infractions of the pact, and unfriendly activities of the 

143 



AL CAPONE 

rank and file to be reported to the delegates for dis- 
ciplining by the respective leaders. 

In the partitioning of the city and county, however, 
Al revealed himself as the practical-minded executive. 
From there on the meeting was a delimitation con- 
ference. 

To the north, Moran and Drucci were circumscribed 
to the Forty-second and Forty-third Wards. All the 
territorial acquisitions and beer-selling privileges south 
of the Madison Street deadline for which O'Banion and 
Weiss had fought and died reverted to Capone. And 
their vice and gambling concessionaires, Skidmore and 
Bertsche, were informed that they would have to see 
Al concerning future operations. 

Saltis was ordered to stay in his own backyard, 
southwest of Packingtown, restricting himself to his 
milk route of two hundred saloonkeepers among the 
Slavic population. 

For Myles and Klondike O'Donnell, the guerrillas, 
there was only ominous silence. The assumption was 
that they were still on probation. 

Capone was supreme on the west, from the Loop to 
Cicero, and on the south from the world's busiest corner 
to the Indiana boundary line at the lake and 106th 
Street, and on down to Chicago Heights. He was the 
John D. Rockefeller of some 20,000 anti-Volstead fill- 
ing-stations. He was sitting on top of the bootleg 
world. 

Amply as the foregoing glorifies the American gang- 
ster, it must needs have one more fact to complete the 
story. It is by way of a demonstration of Capone 's 
might. So critical was the situation in 1926 that the 

144 



1 



AL CAPONE 

editor of the Chicago Tribune, a wet newspaper, had 
appealed in March to the Coolidge administration, 
saying: 

"President Coolidge placed the full weight of his 
administration, and the vast power of the federal 
government behind the move to rid Chicago of the 
gangs of alien gunmen who are terrorizing that com- 
munity." 

But the slaughter had continued, at the rate of six 
a month. 

United States District Attorney Edwin A. Olson had 
charged before the United States Senate prohibition 
inquiry committee that "Chicago is crime-ridden and 
the police wink at violations of the prohibition law." 
The Better Government Association had carried a peti- 
tion to Washington. Chief Morgan A. Collins had re- 
organized the police department to "run gangsters 
forever out of the city." 

The slaughter had continued. Al spoke and it 
stopped. For more than two months not a gun barked. 
Up to October 21st there had been sixty-two murders. 
From then until December 30th, with the exception 
of a nondescript not identified with any faction 
slain December 19th, there wasn't a single gangster 
killing. Chicago had the unique experience of go- 
ing seventy days without a bootleg inquest for the 
coroner. 

Maxie Eisen was pretty well satisfied with the peace- 
conference results. The amnesty clause delighted him. 
He had delivered for his friend Dingbat, and, inci- 
dentally, had made the world a safer and a happier 
place, for Maxie. Saltis and Koncil could emerge from 

145 



AL CAPONE 

the county jail in safety, which they did. It looked 
like a soft winter. 

Alas for the credulous Maxie! The gangster bumped 
off December 30th was Hillory Clements, one of Ralph 
Sheldon's outfit, which made it bad; and Ralph was 
a graduate member of Regan's Colts, which made it 
worse — for Saltis et al. 

East of Polack Joe's domain, and directly back o' 
the yards, lay the bailiwick of the lusty-blooded Irish 
larrikins who loved a fight better than nobody's busi- 
ness. They were an institution, these Regan's Colts, 
dating from the nineties, when they were the Morgan 
Athletic Club, and each year traveled to Sante Fe 
Park on the Sante Fe railroad for their annual picnic. 
On one such hilarious occasion they tossed all the plush- 
covered seats out of the train windows and almost 
wrecked the coaches. The railroad filed a damage suit 
against the Morgan Athletic Club, which promptly 
disbanded and became Regan's Colts. 

They were staunch allies of Capone and had supplied 
his organization with pillars like Mr. Danny Stanton, 
head of the muscle department, and the Messrs. 
Hughey Stubby McGovern, William Gunner Padden, 
Frank Dutch Carpenter, Raymond Cassidy, and 
Thomas Johnson. 

The trouble was, the Regans would never take Saltis 
seriously. Which was "okey" before prohibition when 
he was just a plodding saloonkeeper at 51st and Ar- 
tesian. Then Joey Brooks, toughest hombre back o' the 
yards, used to get beered up, as the boys tell it, and 
go over and "pull Polack Joe's shirt-tail out." 

146 



AL CAPONE 

Joey was the cause of the first bad blood between 
Saltis and the Regans, for one winter's night in 1925 
he was killed as he sat in his car talking with County 
Highway Policeman Edward A. Harmening, who was 
also killed. The double murder was never solved by 
the police, but the Regans charged it to the Saltis 
crowd. And in April of 1926 Ralph Sheldon had re- 
ceived a fiendish warning. John Tucillo — brother-in- 
law, by the way, of Diamond Joe Esposito — and Frank 
De Laurentis, two of Sheldon's booze runners, were 
taken for a ride in their own automobile, after which 
the machine, with the bodies in it, was driven back and 
parked in front of Sheldon's home. The theory was 
that Tucillo and De Laurentis had invaded Saltis ter- 
ritory. 

Wherefore, with this atrocious occurrence in mind, 
the reader may readily surmise that the killing of Hil- 
lory Clements was bad news, indeed, for the gangsters' 
peace pact as well as for Saltis et al. Two months and 
twelve days after his death, the coroner of Cook 
County entered the following items in his record: 

"March 11, 1927: Frank Lefty Koncil, henchman of 
Joe Saltis, gang leader, killed in auto ambush. Slayers 
not caught. 

"March 11, 1927: Charles Big Hayes Hubacek, 
member of Saltis gang, killed with Koncil. Slayers 
not caught." 

The reprisals put Polack Joe in his place. Never 
again did he stray from his milk route to annoy 
Capone's South Side allies. With him disposed of Ai 
was free to prepare to meet an old friend, Mike 

147 



AL CAPONE 

Hughes, whom the reader may remember for an ex- 
change of pleasantries. It was Mike, serving as chief 
of the county highway police, who said: 

"I have chased Capone out of Cicero and for that 
matter out of further business dealings in Cook 
County." 

It was Al who replied: 

" Chase me out of Cook County? Well, he hasn't done 
it and he won't do it. I'm getting sick of fellows like 
Hughes using me to attract glory to themselves." 

The point is that on April 5, 1927, William Hale 
[Thompson had been elected mayor. In his campaign 
speeches he had referred to Hughes as a Go-Get-'Em- 
Mike," had said he would appoint him chief of police 
and that he would "drive the crooks out of Chicago in 
ninety days." Hughes succeeded Morgan A. Collins 
April 14th. 

The years of 1927, 1928, and 1929 were to prove 
memorable for the subject of this sketch, as well as for 
Chicago, Philadelphia, and the world at large. 

Mayor Thompson, self-styled Big Bill the Builder, 
was for America First, and Capone was for America's 
Thirst. They weren't so far apart, at that. 



148 



PART FOUR 

IN a general way, the world knows two Chicagos — 
the chamber of commerce Chicago, and the political 
Chicago — both being the quintessence of hokum. The 
difference is that the one is genteel hokum and the 
other vicious hokum. 

The Chicago that is — living symbol of America — 
of no yesterdays, only tomorrows — exuberant ado- 
lescence — "laughing," says Carl Sandburg, "laughing 
the stormy, husky, brawling laughter of youth; half 
naked; sweating; proud to be hog butcher; toolmaker; 
stacker of wheat; player with railroads, and freight 
handler to the nation. . . ." — so big; so mighty; so 
toweringly prophetic; so unconquerably strong; so 
starkly beautiful — the city known to those who love 
and understand it — the Chicago that is strides on re- 
gardless of the one and despite the other. 

The chamber of commerce Chicago is compounded 
of the fine-spun phrase; the platitudes and super- 
latives of the after-dinner speaker. It tends to gloze the 
realities. It is in the manner of the railroad executive 
who sat in at President Hoover's prosperity confer- 
ences, following the collapse of the stock market in the 
fall of 1929, joined in the yea-man chorus on 1930 
expansion programs to avert unemployment, and re- 
turned to lay off 1,500 shopmen. The chamber of com- 
merce Chicago has men for citizens' advisory boards, 

149 



AL CAPONE 

reception committees, loud-speaker occasions, world's 
fair commissions, but none for practical duty in the 
trenches. It is a dress-suit leadership, admirable as far 
as it goes. The dire need is for a shirtsleeve leadership 
by men of the stature of Charles G. Dawes. 

Political Chicago, which is continually puzzling out- 
side observers, is a stage for much buffoonery and 
mountebanking, with mediocrity entrenched in office, 
and venality and waste the rule rather than the ex- 
ception. The condition is chargeable, of course, to the 
voters themselves, whose attitude of unconcern is pro- 
verbial, the resultant being a species of slacker citizen- 
ship reflected not only at the polls, but also in jury 
service in the criminal courts. 

In some respects Chicago is a national symptom; 
a sermon, if you like, on what's wrong with urban 
America. 

The vaunted "I will" spirit is nonexistent except in 
private initiative and enterprise. Political Chicago is 
full of sound and fury at election times, beating the 
tomtom of issues; otherwise boring in for more party 
spoils; an ugly picture, but not without its uses — in 
it every city may recognize something of itself. The 
paradise of the gangster, the extortionist, the polls 
terrorist, the bomber, and the racketeer. The last two 
work together, the bomber supplementing the racket- 
eer. The official record lists one hundred and fifteen 
bombs exploded in 1929, the average property damage 
per bomb being $1,713, a total of $197,109, with no 
convictions. 

Scotland Yard, London, in 1928, the latest year 
for which official figures are available, investigated 

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AL CAPONE 

eighteen murders, obtaining convictions of eleven of 
the murderers. The other seven committed suicide. 
In 1928 there were 200 murders in New York City, 
with seven convictions. In Chicago there were 367 
murders, 129 of which were either unsolved or the 
principals not apprehended. Of those arrested, 37 were 
acquitted, 39 received jail sentences, 16 were sent to 
insane asylums, 16 committed suicide, and 11 (gangster 
cases) were killed. There were no executions. In other 
words, on the 1928 record, a murderer had a 300-to-0 
chance that he would not be sentenced to death in 
Chicago. 

Entering 1930, the municipality, in a political sense, 
was a moral bankrupt; a financial bum; flat broke; liter- 
ally a panhandler on the doorsteps of its bankers; its 
plight incomparably worse than that of New York City 
in the days of the Tweed Ring. On the record of its elec- 
torate it was the sap town of America. 

Floating debts totaled $280,000,000, with 40,123 
public employees — police, firemen, schoolteachers, jani- 
tors, clerks — unpaid, their back salaries aggregating 
$11,275,500. The board of education was in arrears 
$480,000 in coal bills. That was disclosed when one 
firm — the Reiner Coal Company — served notice that 
it would deliver no more fuel without a settlement in 
District No. 5, comprising 71 schools on the South 
Side with a combined enrollment of 98,382 pupils. 
Also the board was without funds to pay for free text- 
books distributed in the classrooms, having owed 
$872,422 for them since March of 1929. 

In the county, 3,862 employees were unpaid, and 
1,642 widowed mothers, dependent upon county 

151 



AL CAPONE 

mothers' pensions, were destitute. Chicago banks had 
refused to buy any more of the tax anticipation war- 
rants, of which they had already bought $185,000,000 
worth. 

A citizens' rescue committee of business and pro- 
fessional men was formed to extricate the municipality 
from what was described as "the most serious situa- 
tion which has ever confronted an American city." 
Although there had been a reassessment, and a conse- 
quent delay in collecting 1928 taxes, statisticians stated 
that the books showed that the city and the school board 
had been overspending for years, and that even with 
the 1928 and 1929 taxes collected there would still 
be a deficit of $27,641,000. 

This story is not concerned with scrutinizing the 
political career of William Hale Thompson, or that of 
any other man. It is interested in him and others as 
phenomena rather than as personalities. It seeks to 
point no moral, only to present, with as much fidelity 
as lies within the writer's power, a canvas of events; 
to let the reader see the Chicago scene of 1927 and the 
first four months of 1928 — a period so weird that the 
world sat back and gaped, incredulous. 

The story is concerned with Mayor Thompson's 
last administration because it was coincident with the 
apotheosis, as it were, of the gangster, when the shadow 
of Al Capone was cast across the City Hall and County 
Building as the Frankenstein monster of politics, and 
the voters rose in revolt. 

Even so, they did not suspect Capone's actual status. 
That was not revealed until months later, when the 

152 



AL CAPONE 

Illinois Association for Criminal Justice, a non-political 
body, headed by Rush C. Butler, president of the 
Illinois Bar Association, issued the first chapter of its 
report of a one-year investigation of organized crime, 
and stated that Capone "contributed substantially" to 
the Thompson mayoralty campaign fund. Estimates 
of the amount varied, the highest being $2 50,000, which 
seems excessive. A hundred thousand dollars would 
be nearer the mark. At least, the late William E. 
Dever refused a campaign contribution of that amount 
from vice and crime interests. 

Capone received, the report stated, the gambling 
privileges of the South and West Sides and the booze 
concession for the Loop — around one hundred and 
twenty-five speakeasies in thirty-five square blocks, 
which Capone controlled while in Eastern Penitentiary 
through Jack Guzik. His beer trucks rumbled through 
the downtown streets as openly as milk-wagons, re- 
calling a remark by Patrick Roche, formerly of the 
Intelligence unit of the internal revenue service, but 
then chief investigator of the State's attorney's office: 

"A one-legged prohibition agent on a bicycle could 
stop the beer in the Loop in a day," then, pausing for 
an impressive second, "if he were honest." 

The Thompson platform, adopted in December of 
1926, had a "Crime" plank, which read: 

"The people of Chicago demand an end of the pres- 
ent unprecedented and appalling reign of crime. . . „ 
The chief cause of this condition is not at the bottom, 
Qot with the mass of the police department, but it is 
at the top, with the powers, seen and unseen, which 

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AL CAPONE 

rule the force. . . . When I was mayor I was held 
responsible for crime conditions, and properly so, and 
I accepted that responsibility without trying to shift 
it to the courts or to other governmental agencies. . . . 
With practically the same men as are now in the police 
department, I drove the crooks out of Chicago, and 
will do so again if I am elected mayor." 

His campaign manager was Homer K. Galpin, for- 
merly chairman of the Cook County Republican central 
committee, who fled the city in 1928 when ordered to 
appear before the grand jury to testify as to sources 
of campaign contributions, and remained in hiding a 
year. He was mentioned by Baseball Commissioner 
Kenesaw M. Landis — then a Federal judge — in his 
testimony before the Daugherty investigating com- 
mittee of the United States Senate in the case of 
Phillip L. Grossman, a West Madison Street saloon- 
keeper, whose place was a notorious hangout for crim- 
inals. Grossman was pardoned by President Coolidge ' 
before he had served a sentence imposed by Judge ; 
Landis. The judge named Mr. Galpin, Fred Upham, ; 
and George F. Barrett as "active in efforts to procure 
the pardon." In another inquiry, before the Brookhart j 
investigating committee, Brice F. Armstrong, prohibi- • 
tion agent, testified that "eight breweries are running ; 
now in Chicago under protection," and that, "Homer i 
K. Galpin is the man who tells them where, when and 
how to go." 

The Saturnalia, some have called this last adminis- 
tration. Its overture was a shooting and it opens with 
song; sounds of revelry by night in the Louis XIV 
room of the Hotel Sherman. Let us listen in: 

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AL CAPONE 

America first and last and always; 

Our hearts are loyal, our faith is strong; 

America first and last and always; 

Our shrine and homeland, tho' right or wrong. 

Stout hearts and willing lungs were abetting the 
voices, which numbered possibly one thousand and 
five hundred, with that raspy Sweet- Adeline quality 
of hoarseness peculiar to election-day vocalism: 

United we stand for God and country; 
At no one's command we'll ever be; 
America first and last and always ; 
Sweet land of freedom and liberty. 

The campaign anthem. Its singing ceased as a man 
with a megaphone mounted one of the tables where 
the returns were being checked and bellowed: 

"The lead is now 52,000." 

Victory. Yells from the men, shrieks from the 
women; clinking of glasses; backslapping ; foot- 
stamping; bedlam. 

A door swung wide. William Hale Thompson entered 

; the room, grinning, waving his sombrero ; his smallish, 

] close-set, roving eyes two glittering gimlet points ; his 

huge, paunchy frame fairly rocking with the relish of 

it Above the hubbub boomed his stentorian bass : 

"Tell 'em, cowboys; tell 'em! I told you I'd ride 'em 
high and wide ! " 

It was his first public utterance as mayor-elect of 
Chicago for the third time; date, Tuesday, April 5, 
1927. 

He was jubilant for several reasons. His "Bust King 

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AL CAPONE 

George on the Snoot," or America First doctrine as 
enunciated in the campaign theme song, had tri- 
umphed; likewise the proposition of "No entangling 
alliances." "I stand," his platform had stated, "for 
the principles laid down by George Washington." 
British spies and propagandists were to be silenced. He 
had found evidence of their pernicious activities every- 
where. 

"I've got a lot of stuff I've been bottling up on the 
University of Chicago," he revealed at one meeting. 
"The university is in a conspiracy to distort American 
history in behalf of the king of England." 

William McAndrew, superintendent of schools, he 
discovered to be a "stool-pigeon for King George." 
His platform declared regarding Mr. McAndrew, who 
had been associate superintendent of schools of New 
York City from 1914 until 1924, when he was brought 
to Chicago, that "he has encouraged the circulation of , 
unpatriotic propaganda in our schools to poison the 
minds of our children against the founders of our ; 
country." 

Yes, he was riding 'em high and wide. Even Oscar < 
Carlstrom, attorney general of Illinois, indulged in 
eulogy in introducing him to an audience of ex-service 
men: 

"I am glad to see you here in behalf of a friend of j 
mine . . . Big Bill the Builder, who loves the little 
children . . . Big Bill the American, who stands for 
America First." 

A year later, when these two political bedfellows had 
fallen out, the attorney general was to assert: 

"He's been chasing a phantom King George up the 

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AL CAPONE 

alleys, and turning the city over to crooks and gam- 
blers until today conditions are anathema in the eyes 
of Chicago." 

In the 1927 mayoralty election Mr. Thompson's op- 
ponents were William E. Dever, Democrat and in- 
cumbent, and Dr. John Dill Robertson, Independent, 
health commissioner in the previous Thompson ad- 
ministrations, whose campaign manager was Fred 
Lundin. The two were originally Mr. Thompson's 
warm cronies and Mr. Lundin had been his political 
mentor and godfather. 

A few glimpses of the hustings may not be amiss to 
provide readers living at a distance with a better 
Chicago background. The defection of Dr. Robertson 
and Mr. Lundin grieved Mr. Thompson so sorely that 
he was led to express himself in public. He obtained 
two plump rats, appropriated the stage of a Loop 
theater, and, to quote from a newspaper account: 

Big Bill Thompson put on his rat show yesterday at the 
Cort Theater. With two big rats from the stockyards, one 
named Fred, after Fred Lundin, and the other Doc, after Dr. 
John Dill Robertson, the former mayor kept his audience inter- 
ested as he addressed his remarks to the two rodents. 

"This one," he said, indicating the rat named after Dr. 
Robertson, "this one is Doc. I can tell him because he hadn't 
had a bath in twenty years until we washed him yesterday. But 
we did wash him and he doesn't smell like a billy goat any 
longer. 

V "Don't hang your head, now, Fred/' he said, addressing the 
Dther rat. "Fred, let me ask you something: Wasn't I the best 
r riend you ever had ? Isn't it true that I came home from Hono- 
ulu to save you from the penitentiary?" 

Big Bill then related how he lived up to the cowboy code of 

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AL CAPONE 

standing by his friends and came home as a character witness 
in the school-board graft trial. 

Thompson said he had six rats to start with, but that Fred 
and Doc ate up the other four, which were smaller. 

Mr. Lundin's comment on this was that Mr. Thomp- 
son was using "the guttersnipe talk of a hoodlum." 
Br. Robertson raised the cry of "Who killed McSwig- 
gin?" and charged that in 1921 "Thompson appointed 
Charles C. Fitzmorris, a Democrat, chief of police, 
during whose reign began the formation of the multi- 
millionaire crime ring." 

"The Doc is slinging mud," replied Mr. Thompson. 
"I'm not descending to personalities, but you should 
watch Doc Robertson eating in a restaurant — eggs in 
his whiskers, soup on his vest; you'd think the Doc 
got his education driving a garbage wagon." 

Dr. Robertson's statement concerning Mr. Fitz- 
morris, himself a newspaperman in 1910 and now a' 
millionaire, recalled the testimony of Mayor Dever in 
1926 before the United States Senate prohibition in- 
quiry committee. It was that when he assumed office 
in 1923 "sixty per cent of the police were engaged in 
the liquor business; not in connivance, but actually," 
and that "Chief Collins' predecessor [Mr. Fitzmorris] 
had acknowledged that to be true." 

The forensic activities of Mr. Thompson against 
King George irked Mayor Dever, who hinted that they 
were nothing more than a smoke screen — hokum. 

"I have tried," he said, "to confine this campaign to 
the issues and the interests of Chicago, but in that I 
have found no combatant. I thought the square thing 

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AL CAPONE 

to do was to get into the ring with Bill with the gloves, 
but he would not come into the ring. He has been 
throwing tacks from the outside. I have never re- 
spected him. I do not respect him now. I shall not re- 
spect him whether he wins or loses." 

Said Judge Harry B. Miller of the superior court of 
Cook County: 

"If Thompson wins Chicago will have a Fatty 
Arbuckle for Mayor." 

The vote was, Thompson, 515,716; Dever, 432,678; 
Robertson, 51,347. 

i Mayor Dever had tried conscientiously to enforce 
prohibition; Dr. Robertson had campaigned on a 
platform of "Smash the crime ring"; Mr. Thompson 
had proclaimed, "I'm wetter than the middle of the 
Atlantic ocean." 

The Saturnalia, then, has for an overture a shooting 
— the killing on April 4th, the day preceding the elec- 
tion, of Vincent the Schemer Drucci. Members of his 
gang had raided the offices of Alderman Dorsey R. 
Crowe of the Forty-second Ward, a Dever supporter. 
Chief Collins had received information of a plot to 
kidnap the alderman and his co-workers. He had is- 
sued orders for a roundup of thugs and hoodlums. 

A detective bureau squad commanded by Lieutenant; 
William Liebeck sighted Drucci at Diversity Parkway 
and Clark Street, on the North Side. With him were 
his friend, Henry Finkelstein, proprietor of a night- 
life cafe, and one Albert Single of Peoria. Drucci was 
relieved of a .45 automatic and the three were taken 
to the bureau. There, although twenty minutes had not 
elapsed, Lieutenant Liebeck was notified that Dracci's 

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AL CAPONE 

attorney, Maurice Green, was waiting at the Criminal 
Courts Building with a petition for a writ of habeas 
corpus. 

He and Policemen Danny Healy, Matthew Cunning- 
ham, and Dennis Kehoe, driver, thereupon reloaded 
their prisoners into the squad car for the trip to that 
building. Healy, a clean, high-spirited young fellow 
who despised gangsters, had killed one of the Armitage 
Avenue car-barn bandits and had mastered Polack Joe 
Saltis in a personal encounter. He was assigned to 
guard Drucci, who knew him by reputation. Healy's 
story of what happened was : 

"When Drucci got into the car, he said, 'You , 

I'll get you. I'll wait on your doorstep for you.' I told 
him to shut his mouth. Drucci said, 'Go on, you kid 
copper; I'll fix you for this.' I told him to keep quiet. 
Drucci said, 'You take your gun off me or I'll kick hell 
out of you.' He got up on one leg and struck me on 
the right side of the head with his left hand, saying, 
'I'll take you and your tool [revolver] .' He said, coming 
toward me, 'I'll fix you,' grabbing hold of me by the right 
hand. I grabbed my gun with my left hand and fire 
four shots at him." 

Like Mike Genna, Drucci died cursing a copper. 

His attorney, waiting impatiently in the Crimin 
Courts Building to "spring" his client, learned that he 
was in the county morgue. He immediately sought to 
have Healy arrested on a charge of murder, but was 
unsuccessful. 

"I don't know anything about any one being mur- 
dered," said Old Shoes (Chief of Detectives William 
Schoemaker). "I know Drucci was killed trying to take 

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AL CAPONE 

a gun away from an officer. We're having a medal made 
for Healy." 

The solicitude of politicians for gangsters and their 
kind was shown in the case of Drucci's friend, Finkel- 
stein. As soon as word of his arrest got around there 
interceded in his behalf State Representative Harry 
Weisbrod, Alderman Jacob M. Arvey, and Moe Rosen- 
berg, brother of Sanitary District Trustee Michael 
Rosenberg. Their pleas before Judge William J. Lindsay 
obtained his release on bond. 

Drucci lay in gangster state for a day and a night in 
a $10,000 aluminum and silver casket in the chapel of 
Assistant State's Attorney John A. Sbarbaro's under- 
taking establishment. The American flag was draped 
over the remains and there were $30,000 worth of 
flowers — a heart of blood red roses, inscribed, "To my 
darling husband"; a huge circlet of pink roses sent to 
"My boy"; a chair of purest white and deepest purple 
flowers, with the inscription, "Our pal"; there were 
broken wheels of flowers, shafts of flowers, Bibles of 
flowers, and just plain flowers. 

Present at the wake were George Bugs Moran, sole 
s survivor of the three O'Banion musketeers; Julius 
Potatoes Kaufman, Frank and Peter Gusenberg, Ben* 
' jamin Jacobs, politician wounded in the machine gun- 
ning of Weiss, and James Fur Sammons. 

':' 

In the procession to Mount Carmel Cemetery, *he 
American flag enfolded the hearse. The floral gifts filkft 
twelve automobiles and preceded the funeral car. The 
body was placed in a vault pending the purchase of a 
mausoleum. 

Mrs. Cecilia Drucci, the widow, very blonde (Chi- 
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AL CAPONE 

cago gangsters prefer blondes), contributed a perfect 
epitaph. The obsequies were over and she was preparing 
to leave the cemetery. 

"A policeman murdered him/' she said, "but we sure 
gave him a grand funeral." 

When Morgan A. Collins retired on April 14th, 
Michael Hughes succeeded him as chief of the city's 
$15,000,000 police department, and custodian of its 
fine collection of clues. His induction into office was 
noteworthy for its civic eclat. There was a testimonial 
dinner, attended by two thousand five hundred persons, 
at which he was presented with a diamond-studded 
gold star. His announced policy was that crime suppres- 
sion would be of first importance and prohibition en- 
forcement of second. In this, of course, he was only 
supplying a carbon copy of a major plank in the mayor's 
platform. 

"We'll put the police back traveling beats instead 
of sniffing around for a little home brew or frisking 
pantries for a hip flask," was Mr. Thompson's oft- 
repeated campaign utterance. He denounced the police 
under Collins as "snoopers against personal liberty." 

The inference was plain. America First Chicago was 
to be free of entangling alliances with the Eighteenth 
Amendment — and the mayor's critics could scan that 
plank with a fluoroscope for hokum. He was sincere, 
personally as well as politically, in saying that he was 
"wetter than the middle of the Atlantic ocean." The 
Little City Hall on the sixteenth floor of the Hotel 
Sherman was the foremost oasis of the Loop. No one 
liked a Bourbon highball better than he; none was 
freer with his hospitality. Considering the hypocrisy in 

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AL CAPONE 

high places, the mayor's open drinking, openly arrived 
at, always impressed the writer as refreshing. 

Certainly, in that he was an office-holder, it was 
hardly ethical — but it was consistent in the city where 
one out of every three persons is a prohibition law- 
breaker in one form or another. 

The u no snooping" corrected the rankest absurdity 
in the office of chief of police. It sanctioned, so to speak, 
the booze cupboard. For ten years, with the possible 
exception of Collins, with whose personal habits the 
writer was not familiar, every chief has had his private 
stock and dispensed it to newspapermen and others. 
Watching an official with a gold star on his chest com- 
fortably downing snits of whiskey while his men are out 
dry-raiding the city, is a rare experience. 

As a policy for the practical operation of a police de- 
partment, the winking at the Eighteenth Amendment 
was something else again. Chief Hughes was letting 
the administration chart an ambiguous course for him. 
Events were to prove that prohibition enforcement and 
the crime problem were integrated. In endeavoring to 
differentiate, he was to find himself in an impasse. 

Of that, naturally, he was unaware, when, on April 
28th, fourteen days after assuming office, he issued the 
statement that "frightened by the police drive, the gun- 
men, bandits and other world characters are on the run 
already." Viewed in perspective, with the knowledge of 
the Capone campaign contribution, the efforts of Chief 
Hughes and the department to cope with the gangster 
situation in 1927-28 assume a tragi-comic aspect. 

Undoubtedly, he was spurred by the mayor's pre- 

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AL CAPONE 

election assurances. He felt that he had a definite com- 
mitment. He was Go-Get-'Em-Mike, who was to drive 
the crooks out of Chicago in ninety days. Before he 
could organize further than on paper for that under- 
taking his attention was diverted by a series of murders 
so singular as to challenge the best minds of the force. 

On the evening of May 25th a home-bound pedestrian 
stumbled on the body of a man at Desplaines and De- 
Koven streets. The neighborhood, half industrial, half 
residential, southwest of the Loop, across the river, 
is a huddle of factory and tenement buildings by day, 
and by night a Limehouse backdrop ; a place of skulk- 
ing figures, dimly seen in the shadows of tortuous area- 
ways and narrow alleys. Doors open unexpectedly into 
halls and covered staircases leading to impenetrable 
mystery. Lights glimmer from bleary panes, behind 
which humans are pigeonholed. One of those murky 
purlieus, this Limehouse backdrop, where anything 
might happen — where the wary citizen never ventures 
without having secreted his money in his shoe. 

The victim of the murder wore tailored clothes of 
expensive texture and a three-carat diamond solitaire 
ring, and his hip pocket yielded a roll of hundred-dollar 
bills totaling $1,200. So robbery was not the motive. 
That in itself, in that neighborhood, lifted the crime 
into the category of the unusual. The man was a 
stranger, which was curious, but the thing that focused 
interest was a nickel — a nickel clutched in the right 
hand. It had been put there after death and the fingers 
bent over to hold it. 

Speculation was still busy with this case, when, on 
August 11th, every angle of it was duplicated — only 

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AL CAPONE 

this time it was a double murder. Then, on September 
24th, occurred another — the fourth of the series. As 
with the first victim, the three men were strangers, all 
well dressed, all carrying large sums, which were intact, 
and in the right hand of each was clutched a nickel. 

Seeking light, the chief bethought him of an extraordi- 
nary youth, born James DeMora, now answering to the 
nom de guerre of Jack McGurn. He was not hard to 
find. He was skipping rope in the Metropole Hotel, 2300 
South Michigan Avenue, G. H. Q. of General Al the 
Scarface. 

The mild pastime of skipping the rope may seem ir- 
relevant to the role of a suspect in a four-man murder 
case. Yet if the reader had accompanied the police to 
the Metropole he would have discovered two rooms 
equipped with punching bags, horizontal bars, trapezes, 
rowing machines, and other gymnasium paraphernalia. 

Capone's gunmen were required to keep conditioned. 
They followed a schedule of training as methodical as 
that of college football athletes. Experience had taught 
him that their professional value, based on that quality 
commonly described as nerve, was in direct ratio to their 
physical fitness. It might be only the imperceptible 
tremor of a trigger-finger, or the slightest wavering of 
an eye, or a split second of hesitancy at the crucial 
moment in any of a score of unforeseen emergencies; 
yet the cost of the lapse would have to be reckoned in 
lives and money. 

Thus much the canny Scarface had learned, and had 
profited accordingly. His system was an important factor 
in producing the bootleg gangster typified in McGurn, 
the antithesis of that popular fancy. The picture of a 

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AL CAPONE 

furtive, sallow-faced creature, with cap and pulled- 
down visor and cigarette drooping from listless lip, gives 
way to that of an upstanding, square-shouldered fellow, 
in his teens or twenties, keen-eyed, ruddy-cheeked; a 
smart dresser, with a flair for diamonds and blondes; 
always occupying choice seats at prize fights, wrestling 
matches, football and baseball games, the racetrack, 
and the theater; knowing the night-club head waiters 
and receiving their deferential ministrations. 

McGurn in many respects is as dramatic a figure as 
Capone. He commands special attention by reason of 
his melting-pot background. He is Chicago born and 
reared. His life history is an open book — that is to say, 
the adolescent period — an unusual circumstance, and 
affording opportunity for interesting research. He is a 
sociological document, revealing how at least one gang- 
ster got that way. * 

James De Mora, eldest of six children, was the son of 
Angelo De Mora, the grocer. His boyhood was spent in 
the backyard of Halsted Street called Little Italy, Chi- 
cago's most congested district; its ramshackle, fire- 
trap structures, devoid of all pretense at hygiene, and 
wedged wall to wall and end to end, cover almost every 
available square foot of every lot and block. Its atmos- 
phere in summer is fetid and stifling, mothers with their 
babies sleeping on the sidewalks and front stoops. It 
offers no sweep of playground, no breathing space, no 
sunlit freedom to the growing child, except in its streets 
and alleys. Life is raw and squalid in Little Italy. 

The boy James, report cards show, was an eager 
pupil at the neighborhood school, quick to learn and of 
retentive mind. He was a leader in playground sports 

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AL CAPONE 

and was particularly fond of boxing. Indeed, he became 
the school champion, easily outpointing opponents 
twenty and thirty pounds heavier. As he grew older and 
his ability increased, his admirers urged him to join an 
amateur athletic club. He did, and mastered more of 
the rudiments of fisticuffs, while adding to his string of 
victories. He had the true fighting heart. A fight pro- 
moter heard of him and gave him a tryout, and he 
turned professional, a welterweight, adopting the ring 
name of Jack McGurn. 

His father, Angelo the grocer before prohibition, had 
become Angelo the sugar dealer after its advent; caught 
up and carried along on the wave of get-rich-quick 
frenzy that swept all Little Italy with the rise of the 
alky-cooking industry. Angelo sold sugar to the Gennas, 
which implies no more reproach than to say that Samuel 
Insull, who built Chicago's $30,000,000 opera house, 
sold gas to Abraham Bummy Goldstein (Pete the Ped- 
dler) for his wildcat distillery at 1154 Hastings Street. 
A police raid there disclosed that Bummy in one month 
had used $1,700 worth of gas. 

Angelo sold sugar, and business competition was a 
sanguinary enterprise. He was found shot to death the 
morning of January 8, 1923, in front of his store at 
936 Vernon Park Place, a half -block from his home. 
Jack was then nineteen. With the widowed mother" and 
the five other children, he attended the inquest. He was 
silent and preoccupied. 

Had he any suspicions as to who killed his father? 

"No." 

Was he not fearful, having become head of the house, 
for his own life? 

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AL CAPONE 

"I'm big enough/' he said with ominous quiet, "to 
take care of this case myself." 

The prize ring never saw him again. His friends 
missed him at the usual neighborhood haunts. If they 
wondered what had happened to him, it was not for 
long. Out of the underworld jungle began emanating 
police reports of the boy turned gangster — McGurn 
picked up in the Loop, carrying a revolver; McGurn 
arrested in a room in a West Side hotel, with his 
fifteen-year-old brother, Antonio, and an arsenal con- 
sisting of a Thompson sub-machine gun with loaded 
magazine attached, a .45 caliber automatic pistol, a 
rifle, and a quantity of dumdum bullets; McGurn 
wounded by a spray of machine-gun bullets while in a 
telephone booth in a hotel near the North Side; Mc- 
Gurn's automobile riddled with shotgun slugs. 

Summarizing the findings in the investigation of the 
Moran gang massacre, for which McGurn and the late 
John Scalise were indicted, Dr. Herman N. Bundesen, 
Cook County coroner, wrote : 

"It is known he is suspected of having had a hand in 
the killing of some fifteen other gangsters [which would 
give McGurn around twenty- two notches] . He is gen- 
erally regarded as an expert machine gunner. It is 
believed he got his start as a killer after his father 
was shot to death." 

McGurn's professional value was top because of his 
invincible nerve. There was no likelihood that he would 
ever collapse under the strain and "go cuckoo," the 
big dread of every gangster boss. For it is axiomatic 
that "if a gunner goes cuckoo, he turns yellow," which 
means that he will weaken in a pinch and squawk. 

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AL CAPONE 

Therewith is disclosed a little-known phase of under- 
world life. The gangster boss is always vigilant for the 
telltale symptoms of a collapse among his killers. They 
manifest themselves in the trite details of daily habit — 
lighting too many cigarettes and tossing them aside 
after a few superficial puffs; drinking coffee in jerky 
sips; failing to pull the tie up snugly to the collar in 
dressing. 

Detecting any of these symptoms, the boss redou- 
bles his vigilance. The patient may snap out of it. If 
after a week's observation he has doubts as to his con- 
dition, he stages a conclusive test, in this wise : A party 
is organized to make the rounds of the whoopee spots. 
The patient is taken along. Apparently by accident, he 
meets half a dozen pretty girls in different places. Each 
one is nice to him. Each one, in fact, tries to vamp him. 
They are plants. If he does not react, that settles it; 
the boss knows the worst has come to pass — "When a 
guy don't fall for a broad, he's through" — his killer 
has turned yellow. The remedy follows. He is bumped 
off. His colleagues get him drunk and take him for a 
ride. It happens often in Chicago. 

McGurn was Capone's chief gunner's mate, and the 
police wanted to question him in the four-man murder 
case, because it looked as if somebody was out to 
get the Scarface. Identification had disclosed each 
victim as a professional killer. Number 1 was Antonio 
Torchio of New York; Numbers 2 and 3, taken for a 
ride together August 11th, were Anthony K. Russo and 
Vincent Spicuzza of St. Louis; Number 4 was Samuel 
Valente of Cleveland. 

The five-cent pieces in their hands were expressive 
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AL CAPONE 

of their slayers' contempt for them; tantamount to a ; 
derisive sneer and a slap in the face. It is an extreme 
gesture of contumely, which the gangster does not 
employ except when he is beside himself with rage. 
Trouble was brewing. 

Chicago in 1927 and 1928 was tagged in underworld 
jargon as "hot" for any outsiders who had no business 
there, so well had Capone consolidated his gains and 
systematized his overlordship of vice, gambling, and 
booze. Only real money could have induced the four 
killers to take a chance. Who had offered it? The police 
learned nothing from McGurn, although the coroner 
recorded him and Scalise as suspects in the Torchio job. 

Trouble was brewing. The ukelele music started sud- 
denly for members of the old Genna outfit. Six were 
slain within a month and a half — Lawrence La Presta, 
on June 1st; Diego Attlomionte, June 29th; Numio 
Jamericco, June 30th; Lorenzo Alagno, also June 30th; 
Giovanni Blaudins, July 11th; Dominic Cinderella, July 
17th. 

For the first five, the coroner entered the notation,! 
"Slayers not apprehended," but in the case of Cinder- 
ella, a saloonkeeper, whose body was trussed in a sack 
and tossed in a ditch, he again had occasion to mention 
McGurn, and with him one Orchell DeGrazio. They: 
were arrested, but freed for lack of evidence. 

Events moved swiftly. The morning of November 
2 2d newsies greeted Chicagoans with cries of "Cops 
ordered to kill killers!" "Gunmen defy police; invade 
law's stronghold!" The story they were crying began: 

"Chicago gunfighters almost achieved the ultimate in 
assassination yesterday, when they silently encircled the 

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AL CAPONE 

detective bureau and waited patiently for the oppor- 
tunity to kill Joseph Aiello, hitherto only a modest 
claimant to gang honors, who became by this stealthy 
swarming of the clans, a new and astonishing figure 
in the stratum of bullets, booze, gambling and vice." 

And farther along: 

"Summed up, from police information, the situation 
is one involving perhaps $75,000,000 a year, the profits 
of gambling and vice and booze in Chicago. It is for 
control of these profits that there has been launched a 
new war between one group headed by William Skid- 
more and Barney Bertsche and another group ruled 
by Al Brown [Capone] and Antonio Lombardo." 

The Aiellos were making their bid for gang leadership. 
Primarily they wanted to seize the Unione Sicilione. 
They had reorganized the old Genna outfit, and had 
effected a coalition with George Bugs Moran of the 
O'B anion remnant on the North Side and with William 
Skidmore, Barney Bertsche, and Jack Zuta on the 
West Side. These had accordingly repudiated the peace 
pact of October, 1926, and the Capones regarded it 
as treachery. 

It was the last threat of any consequence at Capone's 
power. It was elaborately conceived and aimed at the 
extinction of both Capone and Lombardo, whom he had 
seated as president of the Unione Sicilione in November 
[of 1925. 

If Capone had kept a diary, 1927 would be ringed 
in red as the banner year for plots against his life, the 
instigators of all of them being the Aiellos. First they 
tried to bribe the chef of the Little Italy cafe with 
$10,000 to put prussic acid in his soup, but the chef 

171 



AL CAPONE 

weakened and confessed. Then they offered $50,000 to 
any gunman who would "show us a Capone notch." 
It was this that brought the professional killers to town 
— and to the county morgue. Finally they devised two 
machine-gun ambuscades — one for Lombardo, in a flat 
opposite his home at 4442 Washington Boulevard, and 
one for Capone, in the Loop — room 302 in the Atlantic 
Hotel, at 316 South Clark Street, commanding the 
entrance across the way to his favorite loafing-place, 
the cigar store of Michael Hinky Dink Kenna, at 311 
South Clark Street. These ambuscades provided the 
climax of the plottings, and knowledge of them caused 
the demonstration by Capone gunmen at the detective 
bureau when they learned of Aiello's presence there. 
They had been after him for months, but hadn't caught 
up with him. 

Of the Aiellos there were the four brothers — Joseph, 
Dominick, Antonio, and Andrew — and a score of, 
cousins, Joseph being the head of this Sicilian family 
clan. He had originally been Lombardo's business: 
partner and they had prospered as cheese merchants and ; 
commission brokers. Both were active in the affairs of. 
the Unione Sicilione during the regime of Mike Merlo, 
its founder and, by the way, the only one of its 
six presidents from 1924 to 1929, to die a natural 
death. 

Stern and just in his administration of the office, 
Merlo's rule was absolute. He was a shrewd politician 
— he had put Carmen Vacco in as city sealer of Chi- 
cago — and he was zealous of the interests of his people, 
most of whom were first-generation immigrants. To 
their simple minds he represented mysterious authority 

172 



AL CAPONE 

and influence. They venerated him, ignorant, of course, 
that he was exploiting them for their votes. 

As long as Merlo lived there was no discord in the 
Unione Sicilione, but immediately after his death be- 
gan that struggle for leadership with which the reader 
is familiar. All the arts of political intrigue were utilized 
by men ambitious for the post, and by their families and 
friends. 

Lombardo, with Capone's help, emerged victorious. 
For a time the Aiellos supported him, and he and Joseph 
maintained their business relationship. But Joseph was 
jealous. He had had an insight into racial politics and 
the game fascinated him. His ambition, stimulated by 
the persuasions of his followers, overmastered his judg- 
ment. He quarreled with Lombardo. They dissolved 
their partnership, and the Aiellos launched their con- 
spiracy. 

Not content to confine it to Chicago, they sent mem- 
bers of the family to Cleveland and St. Louis to organize 
rivals to the local branches of the Unione Sicilione. A 
dozen killings resulted in St. Louis, culminating in the 
slaying of two Aiello kinsmen as they were eating in a 
restaurant in Springfield, Illinois, en route to Chicago. 

Chief Hughes' men, always surprisingly well informed 
In gangster skullduggery adverse to Capone, suddenly 
aided the flat opposite Lombardo 's home, at 4442 
iVashington Boulevard, and uncovered the machine- 
i^un ambuscade. Next, they went to 7002 North Western 
Wenue, ten miles away, found a cache of dynamite and 
>ercussion caps, and a clue that sent them to the Rex 
lotel, at 3142 North Ashland Avenue. 

There they captured Angelo La Mantio, twenty- 
173 



AL CAPONE 

three years old, a Milwaukee gunman, and with him 
four of the Aiello clan. A trifle soft for the job he had 
undertaken La Mantio admitted to the police that he 
had been hired to do away with Capone and Lombardo, 
and divulged the ambuscade in the Atlantic Hotel. 

With that the action shifts to the detective bureau. 
La Mantio and Joseph Aiello had not been there an hour 
when a policeman standing at a window saw a half- 
dozen taxis stop on the opposite side of the street, dis- 
charging between twenty and twenty-five passengers — 
all men. He assumed that there had been a raid some- 
where and that officers were bringing in prisoners. But 
not for long. 

The men hurriedly put their heads together, gesticu- 
lating excitedly and darting glances at the bureau. Then 
they separated, some sauntering up and down the side- 
walk; some loitering at the curb and in doorways; some 
stationing themselves at the street corners ; while others 
crossed over to disappear in an alley alongside the 
building, into which opened its rear exit. The police- 
man called to a fellow officer. As he did so three men 
headed directly for the bureau's front entrance, one of, 
them transferring a revolver from an armpit holster 
to the side pocket of his overcoat. 

"Louis Campagnia," exclaimed the fellow officer. 
"It's the Capone crowd." 

Which was the way headquarters was first apprised 
of the gangland episode now chronicled in police lore 
as the Siege of the Detective Bureau. The place was 
completely surounded. 

The two officers ran to the street and brought back 
Campagnia, Frank Perry, and Samuel Marcus, mem- 

174 



AL CAPONE 




ective's office. He 
e it. His intention, 

berty. ^ 

ing that of Joseph 
rstood the Italian 
thin hearing. Aiello 



bers of the Capone bodyguard imported from the East. 
A pair of .45 automatics apiece was found on Cam- 
pagnia and Perry, but only one gujkon Marcus. The 
discrepancy was explained five minutes later when he 
whipped a sawed-off Colt from inside his shirt while 
being questioned in the chief of 
was overpowered before he could 
apparently, was to shoot his-way t 

The three were put in\a ce 
Aiello, and a policeman who 
language was disguised and place 
at once recognized his enem$j§S\ 

"Can't we settle this?" he f)le%de\i. "Give me just 
fifteen days — just fifteen days — akq I -vpll sell my stores 
and house and leave everything i\ your hands. Think 
of my wife and baby and let me g 

The Capones laughed. 

"You dirty rat! You started th 
as good as dead." 

Upon his release ^from cust 
with terror, begged^str police 
escorted to a taxi and told, to bea 
went in a hole, as the underworld 
months, or until May of 192% ^h N 
n Philadelphia. His brother Bominick elected to stay 
;o conduct their business affairs! and was shot to death. 
So was finis written to another Wuest for the Golden 
fleece of prohibition Chicago^, and to another con 
piracy to depose Capone. 

By the terms of the 1926 peafce pact, Skidmore, 
Sertsche, and Zuta had been relegated to the district 
orth of the Madison Street deadline — largely the 

175 



We'll end it. You're 

, Aiello, wild-eyed 
rotection. He was 

it. He fled Chicago; 

tying is, for eighteen 
Capone was jailed 



AL CAPONE 

Forty-second and Forty-third Wards — but after tying 
up with the Aiellos they had stepped across, and' Zuta, 
the divekeeper, had essayed the role of muscle man — 
touring the territory with a crew of gunmen, spotting 
gambling places and resorts, and exacting tribute from 
the operators. The Capones bombed their headquarters 
at 823 West Adams Street, wrecking the building. It was 
a warning, and sufficed. The three scurried for cover to 
their North Side district and remained there. 

Matters vital to Capone's peace of mind had like- 
wise been satisfactorily adjusted in Cicero. A Federal 
grand jury in October of 1926 had voted indictments 
in seventy-eight liquor cases. The defendants included 
Ed Konvalinka, whom the reader will remember as 
the soda-jerker who became a Main Street Warwick; 
Mayor Joseph Klenha; Police Chief Theodore L. 
Svoboda; and Capone — Klenha had been Konvalinka's 
candidate on the ticket sponsored by Capone's gun- 
men in the election of April 1, 1924. The charges were 
conspiracy and there were two key witnesses — John 
Costenora, a Cicero saloonkeeper, and Santo Celebron, 
a bartender. Because of the congested calendars of the 
Federal courts, a year elapsed before the cases were 
called for trial. When they were, it was learned that 
Castenora and Celebron had been killed. The Govern- 
ment had to dismiss the cases for lack of evidence. 

Also there had been the Cicero graft investigation, 
Special State's Attorney Charles A. MacDonald having 
obtained evidence in the form of canceled checks show- ' 
ing payments of large sums of money by Capone and 
associates to city officials. But though the names were 
written on them, none of the witnesses summoned be- 

176 



AL CAPONE 

fore the grand jury could identify them — not even 
Alfred Pinkert, vice president of the Pinkert State 
Bank of Cicero — and the investigation had fizzled. 

The Pinkert State Bank was across the street from 
Capone's Hawthorne Hotel headquarters. In one of its 
safety-deposit boxes Government agents, delving for 
income-tax information in 1929, discovered Ralph Bot- 
tles Capone's $100,000 cache; they learned further that 
in 1927 and 1928 he had made deposits of $974,000 
in five different banks under as many different names. 
A by-product was the disclosure that his brother Al 
had exercised his rich man's option for a hobby and 
had chosen racing, establishing the Arsonia stables, 
with seven thoroughbreds. 

In December of 1927, a looker-on at the Chicago 
scene would have concluded that Al Capone was pretty 
comfortably ensconced, pretty well content with him- 
self and the world. The Aiellos had been routed. A 
quietus had been put on Skidmore, Bertsche, and Zuta. 
Professional killers from other cities had been taught 
a lesson. A couple of murders had made Cicero safe 
from the United States Government. Capone was mas- 
ter of all he surveyed. 

Gone, too, were many of that company of magnificent 
scoundrels that in 1920 had gloried and drunk deep 
at the long mahogany bar of the Four Deuces — his 
own brother, Frank; three of the six deadly Gennas; 
Walter O'Donnell of the South Side O'Donnells; Sam 
Samoots Amatuna; Vincent the Schemer Drucci; Samuel 
J. Nails Morton; Earl Hymie Weiss; and Dion O'Banion 
—yea, even old Joe Howard — "estate: 1 pair cuff but- 
tons; cash, $17." Gone with "yesterday's sev'n thousand 

177 



AL CAPONE 

years." He could paraphrase Omar: "The moving 
trigger-finger writes. ..." 

Municipal cabinet member without portfolio, com- 
missioner of lawlessness — and mayor of Crook County, 
the columnist wags had dubbed him. In the public mind, 
both here and abroad, his name had became synony- 
mous with crime and corruption- — and with prohibition 
as is. 

The looker-on, then, would have been as astounded 
and puzzled as was the citizenry when Capone abruptly 
announced on December 5th that he was shaking off 
the dust of Chicago, leaving for Florida, and, "I don't 
know when I'll get back, if ever." 

He aired his favorite grievance: 

"The coppers won't have to lay all the gang murders 
on me now." 

He revealed his mental anguish because the world 
did not understand him: 

"My wife and my mother hear so much about what 
a terrible criminal I am, it's getting too much for them, 
and I'm sick of it myself. 

"The other day a man came in and said that he had 
to have $3,000. If I'd give it to him, he said, he would 
make me beneficiary in a $15,000 insurance policy he'd 
take out, and then kill himself. 

"Today I got a letter from a woman in England. 
Even over there I'm known as a gorilla. She offered 
to pay my passage to London if I'd kill some neigh- 
bors she'd been having a quarrel with." 

Capone did not go to Florida. He went instead to 
Los Angeles, accompanied by -his wife, son, and a two- 
man bodyguard. They left Chicago December 10th. 

178 



AL CAPONE 

They were back December 18th. Los Angeles had re- 
ceived them with a reception committee headed by 
Chief of Police James E. Davis. 

" You're not wanted here/' he quietly informed 
Capone. "We're giving you twelve hours to leave." 

Capone was indignant, but submissive. There was 
talk of riding him out of town on a rail. He boarded an 
eastbound Santa Fe train December 14th. 

"We were just tourists/' he said. "I thought Los 
Angeles liked tourists. We no sooner got there than the 
newspapers started writing stuff about me, and then 
I got the bum's rush. And somebody stole my wine. 
A swell dump." 

In the interim Chief Hughes had spoken: 

"Capone can't come back to Chicago." 

With the idea of sidestepping Hughes and slipping 
quietly into the city, Capone and his party de- 
barked from the train at Joliet, where is located the 
Illinois State Penitentiary. John Corcoran, its chief 
of police, met them, relieved Capone and his body- 
guard of their several pieces of ordnance, and charged 
them with gun-toting. Fines totaling $2,601 were 
assessed. 

"I'm a property owner and a taxpayer," was Capone's 
rejoinder to Hughes. "I guess I can return to my own 
home." 

Well, yes. But the chief could post a twenty-four 
hour detail in front of his house at 7244 Prairie Avenue. 
He could have bluecoats stalking him all over town. 
He could harry him day and night. Which he did, in- 
spiring a Rialto poet to commit a parody on "Mary's 
Little Lamb": 

179 



AL CAPONE 

Capone had a flatf oot pair whose dogs did fret them so ; 
For everywhere Capone went those cops 2 had 2 go. 

The chief won. Capone resumed his wanderings, 
heading for Florida and St. Petersburg this time. The 
news preceded him. The police met him at the station 
and trailed him so assiduously that he stayed only 
overnight. He tried Miami. Women's clubs, churches, 
and business men's organizations protested; he was 
ordered on his way. Nassau learned that he was dicker- 
ing for a home in the Bahamas. The colonial governor 
proscribed him. New Orleans heard he was coming and 
issued a warning. The world seemed to have a set opin- 
ion regarding Capone, even though it did not under- 
stand him. 

The looker-on at the Chicago scene might likewise 
have inferred by now that the authorities of Capone 's 
home town had discovered him to be an undesirable. 
Right. Et tu! A belated discovery. 

Chief Hughes, a veteran of the police department, 
had wide and intimate knowledge of gangsters. He knew 
Capone's background. He had worked on the Big Jim 
Colosimo case in 1920. He had investigated Capone on 
his first serious murder rap — that of old Joe Howard 
in 1924. He had expressed his attitude toward him in 
his declaration as chief, pro tempore, of the county 
highway police in the winter of 1926-27, that he had 
run him "out of Cicero and for that matter out of 
further business dealings in Cook County." Yet as 
Mayor Thompson's Go-Get-'Em-Mike, who was to 
drive the crooks out of Chicago in ninety days, he had 
tolerated Capone and his swarm of killers for eight 

180 



AL CAPONE 

months; he had been so clement, in fact, that Capone 
could boast in Los Angeles, as he could later in Phila- 
delphia: 

"I have no police record in Chicago. I have never 
done time." 

Seeking explanation of this toleration and clemency 
one recalls the report of the Illinois Association for 
Criminal Justice. To quote the exact language: 

"In circles close to Capone, it was well known that 
he had contributed substantially to the Thompson cam- 
paign. . . ." 

That refers to the mayoralty campaign of 1927. 
The reader will note its unqualified nature. So far as 
the writer knows Mayor Thonipson offered no denial at 
the time of its publication in June of 1928. His cam- 
paign manager, Homer K. Galpin, as has been related, 
fled the city when sought for questioning as to sources 
of contributions. 

Why, then, after eight months, in December of 1927, 
the bum's rush for Capone? Why the sudden determina- 
tion to purge Chicago of his presence? A primary elec- 
tion was approaching. Could that be the answer? 

The America First machine was facing a fight to re- 
tain its city, county, and State patronage — a fight that 
was to center in the offices of United States Senator, 
governor, and State's attorney. In addition there were 
to be elected ward committeemen and delegates to the 
Republican national convention at Kansas City. 

Capone had grown too big for political comfort — 
too big to explain away. He was bigger than the ad- 
ministration, bigger than any issue. His shadow across 
the City Hall and County Building was lengthening, 

181 



AL CAPONE 

broadening. He was a fact — a terrible fact — and a 
symbol. He was subsidized criminality. He was the 
breakdown of law and order. He was organized violence 
expanding from booze and vice into the polling-booth, 
the jury room, the witness chair, into the trades and 
professions and industries. He was the extortionist — 
the racketeer, so-called — preying upon the city's eco- 
nomic life. He was rule by the gun. 

As such he had become page-one news in the press of 
two continents. His armored car and bodyguard had 
been commented on by newspapers of London, Berlin, 
Paris, Edinburgh, and Rome. Chicago was being de- 
picted as the crime capital of the world, with a murder 
rate exceeding that of New York City, and bombings 
in proportionate volume. 

Here was Capone, and there was the plank in the 
mayor's platform: 

"The people of Chicago demand an end of the pres- 
ent unprecedented and appalling reign of crime/ 

And here was Chief Hughes — in a predicament. He 
had followed the course charted for him by the ad- 
ministration of no entangling alliances with the 
Eighteenth Amendment; he was trapped between the 
Scylla of crime suppression and the Charybdis of pro- 
hibition enforcement; he was alone and friendless — as 
events were to prove — on the deep and treacherous sea 
of politics. 

Presumably, the denouement at the detective bureau, 
when Capone's gunners surrounded it to try to kill 
Joseph Aiello, decided the administration to get rid of 
him. Such a demonstration — a criminal tour de force — 
had never before been witnessed in Chicago. The con- 

182 



AL CAPONE 

temptuous flouting of the law, the brazen indifference 
to the authorities, startled the public — sent a shudder 
through the city — and focused attention anew on the 
gangster menace. 

If the administration hoped by the move to remedy 
an embarrassing situation, it was disappointed. The 
effect was just the opposite. Capone's odyssey caught 
the popular fancy. He was likened to "The Man With- 
out a Country," and his wanderings were faithfully and 
fulsomely recorded by a gleeful press, lavish in its 
ridicule of Chicago. Finally, with the aid of subter- 
fuge and the connivance of a scheming broker, Capone 
bought the villa on Palm Island, Miami Beach, and as 
a property owner successfully defied the whole common- 
wealth of Florida to oust him. 

A month after his unceremonious exit from Chicago, 
a singular occurrence served to revive discussion of 
him. On the evening of January 25th a pair of bombs 
was tossed — one at the home of Charles C. Fitzmorris, 
city controller, and in the previous Thompson adminis- 
tration chief of police, the other at the home of Dr. 
William H. Reid, commissioner of public service, 
formerly smoke inspector. He was to be tried, with six 
police captains, in 1929, in the slot-machine-racket case 
— involving the alleged operation of 8,000 machines 
about the city with a daily take of as high as $50 each. 
The case was to fail when the witness relied upon by 
the prosecution to obtain a conviction refused to testify. 

Controller Fitzmorris and Dr. Reid were the most 
influential of the mayor's advisers and the ranking mem- 
bers of his cabinet. Therefore it was apparent that the 
purpose of the bombs was political. 

183 



AL CAPONE 

"This is a direct challenge from the lawless," said 
the mayor. "We accept the challenge." And he added, 
somewhat cryptically: "When our fight is over, the 
challengers will be sorry." 

He was photographed by an evening newspaper, 
standing at a patrol box, taking personal charge of the 
investigation. 

The challengers ' reply was another bomb, February 
11th, this one tossed into the apartment building oc- 
cupied by Lawrence Cuneo, brother-in-law and secre- 
tary of State's Attorney Robert E. Crowe. 

A week's interval, and a fourth bomb reached its 
destination — the undertaking establishment of John A. 
Sbarbaro, where so many notables of the bootleg war 
had reposed in gangster state. Mr. Sbarbaro, formerly 
one of Mr. Crowe's assistant State's attorneys, was now 
a municipal judge, having been elected as an America 
Firster. 

Washington's Birthday of 1928 saw police guards 
stationed at the homes of Mayor Thompson; State's 
Attorney Crowe; City Sealer Daniel A. Serritella; 
Bernard P. Barasa, the administration's contact man 
with the Sicilians and Italians; Morris Eller, formerly 
sanitaty district trustee and a candidate again on the 
America First ticket, his son, Emmanuel Eller, judge 
of the superior court, and Chief Hughes. 

"I am completely baffled," said Chief Hughes. "I 
have been unable to obtain any clues as to the identities 
of the bombers or their motives." 

Capone was sunning himself in his Palm Island, 
Florida, villa by the sea, telling friends: 

"I like it down here. It's warm — but not too warm." 

184 



AL CAPONE 

Up to now Mayor Thompson had been largely oc- 
cupied with national affairs. The Mississippi River had 
overflowed, with disastrous consequences, April 30, 
1927, a few weeks after his election, and he had im- 
mediately assumed leadership of the flood-control relief 
program in Congress. This had necessitated frequent 
trips to Washington and through the Southern States. 
He had, too, originated the "Draft Coolidge," idea, and 
there was the America First movement. The three com- 
bined made heavy demands upon his time. 

He traveled more than 15,000 miles from April to 
February, spending nearly three months out of town. 
His official itinerary: 



Date 


1927 


Destination 


Purpose 


April 


18 


New Orleans 


Flood control 


May 


27 


Phelps, Wisconsin 


Hunting 


June 


9 


Washington, District of Columbia 


Flood control 


July 


12 


St. Louis 


Flood control 


July 


26 


Mackinac Island 


Vacation 


August 


17 


Toledo, Ohio 


America First 


August 


25 


Springfield, Illinois 


State Fair 


September 


6 


Eleven cities; seven states 


Flood control 


October 


2 


Manitowish, Wisconsin 


Fishing 


October 


7 


Huron, South Dakota 


Hunting 


October 


30 


Toledo, Ohio 


America First 


November 


7 


Washington, District of Columbia 


Water meters 


December 


3 


Boston and Washington, District 
of Columbia 


America First 




1928 




January 


19 


Springfield, Illinois 


To see Gov. Small 


February 


1 


New Orleans 


Flood control 


February 


8 


Springfield, Illinois 


To see Gov. Small 


February 


22 


Washington, District of Columbia 


Flood control 



185 



AL CAPONE 

These junkets were invariably festal events, the 
mayor being accompanied by delegations of followers 
numbering from one hundred to one thousand. Special 
trains were used, with red, white, and blue streamers 
on the sides of the coaches. Music was furnished by the 
police octet and harmonica band. For fifteen or twenty 
minutes before departure the junketers, assembled in 
the train-shed with megaphones, would join in singing 
" America First," led by the mayor. 

In a statement issued August 20, 1927, dealing with 
State politics, he declared emphatically that he was not 
and would not be a candidate for President of the 
United States. 

"I deeply regret," it read, "that the rumor will not 
down that I am a candidate for any higher office than 
that of mayor of the city of Chicago. . . . For me to 
be a candidate myself would be to inject a personal 
political ambition to the detriment of the success of the 
principles, and I hope that my friends who consider 
this statement definite will refrain from further re- 
marks that would indicate otherwise." 

In 1918 he had been an unsuccessful candidate for 
the Republican nomination for United States Senator 
from Illinois. 

The America First Foundation had been established 
and was launching a nation-wide campaign for mem- 
bership. The mayor was president. The secretary, John 
J. Murphy, outlined its aims — "to teach respect for 
the flag, train youth and aliens for citizenship, and in- 
still in the public mind the ideals of George Washing- 
ton, Abraham Lincoln, and Big Bill Thompson." 

Locally, the mayor had announced a new slogan, 

186 



AL CAPONE 

"Make Chicago Hum!" which was to be the motto of 
his administration. He elaborated on it: 

"Open the waterway, to make Chicago hum. Settle 
the traction question, to make Chicago hum. Get rid 
of the bread lines, to make Chicago hum. Speed the 
great public improvements, to make Chicago hum. 
Chase out the crooks and gunmen, to make Chicago 
hum." 

A victory banquet had been held at Fred Mann's 
Rainbo Gardens at which he had been presented with a 
Lincoln sport coupe. He changed it for a touring car, 
and had the left side of the rear seat raised with an 
extra cushion. A spotlight was installed in the back 
panel of the front seat. Evenings, with the top down, 
when starting for a ride, he would say to the chauffeur, 
"All right," and the chauffeur would press a switch and 
a flood of light would illumine his torso and features. 

"The people like to see their mayor," he explained. 

J. Lewis Coath, self-styled "Iron-Handed Jack," had 
been elected president of the board of education, and 
William McAndrew, superintendent of schools, had 
been suspended and was on trial for insubordination 
as a preliminary to his being ousted permanently. 

Corporation Counsel Samuel A. Ettelson, in col- 
laboration with Milton Weil, music publisher, who had 
composed "America First," was writing a song that 
was to rank with it as a campaign document. The title 
was "Big Bill the Builder." There were four verses and 
as many choruses. The first verse read: 

Scanning hist'ry's pages, we find names we love so well, 
Heroes of the ages — Of their deeds we love to tell, 

187 



AL CAPONE 

But right beside them soon there'll be a name 
Of some one we all acclaim. 

And then the first-verse chorus: 

Who is the one, Chicago's greatest son ? 

It's Big Bill the Builder; 

Who fought night and day to build the waterway ? 

It's Big Bill the Builder. 

To stem the flood, he stood in mud and fought for all he's worth ; 

He'll fight so we can always be the grandest land on earth; 

He's big, real and true — a man clear thru and thru — 

Big Bill the Builder — We're building with you. 

U. J. Herrmann, yachtsman, sportsman, owner of 
the Cort Theater, and the outstanding figure of the 
Loop and Rialto, had been appointed book censor of 
the Chicago Public Library. Information had reached 
the mayor that there was being conducted there "what 
appears to be a school or course for pro-British, un- 
American propaganda." 

A self-made Chicagoan, who started life as a bill- 
poster, Sport, as everyone calls him, is a forthright 
man of blunt speech and plain taste, impatient of affec- 
tation. Many stories are told about him, the best 
known having to do with a visit to New York City. 
Arrived at the Commodore Hotel, he was standing at 
the clerk's desk, pen in hand, ready to register. He 
noticed the last entry: 

"Grosvenor Thistlewaite, and valet, Boston." 

He wrote: 

"Sport Herrmann, and valise, Chicago." 

As soon as he was notified of his appointment as book 

188 



AL CAPONE 

censor Sport announced that all seditious volumes 
found on the shelves of the library would be burned 
in a lake-front bonfire. Two separate petitions for in- 
junctions to restrain him were at once filed. The mayor 
issued a denial that he had ordered the torch. Sport 
receded from his position and the incident was closed. 

So much for the political aspect of the Chicago scene. 
The gangster aspect was being enlivened by Polack Joe 
Saltis, South Side gunman and beer peddler, who was 
poking fun at the police with habeas corpus writs. The 
daily press was featuring the holding of Sunday court 
to free him and two of his henchmen after they had 
been picked up in a raid. One account reads as follows: 

First intimation that friends of Saltis had set the machinery 
of the courts in motion to save Joe the possible discomfiture of 
a Sunday night in a cell developed when Judge William J. 
Lindsay telephoned Chief of Detectives William E. O'Connor 
at noon. 

"A writ has been sworn out/' Judge Lindsay informed the 
detective chief. "You must either book Joe and the others or 
release them." . . . 

Judge Stanley H. Klarkowski of the criminal court unex- 
pectedly put in an appearance at the police station, accom- 
panied by a bailiff and a court clerk. He set up court in the 
station squadroom and then dispatched a specially sworn 
bailiff with writs to bring in Saltis, Sullivan and Conlon. . . . 

Half an hour later Saltis and his friends were at liberty. . . . 

A similar method of impromptu writ procedure . . . was 
used by Judge Emmanuel Eller a week ago. Judge Eller opened 
court at his home at 1 a. m. on Sunday, December 4, and 
ordered the release of Willie Druggan, brother of the notorious 
Terry Druggan, who was held for inquiry into a mysterious 
shooting of a third Druggan brother. 

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Another case occurred last Wednesday night when Judge 
William J. Lindsay appeared at midnight at the detective 
bureau and ordered Chief O'Connor to produce Robert Long, a 
thief suspect. 

Saltis was enlivening the scene in still another way. 
He was demonstrating how to evade a jail sentence. 
Two weeks after his acquittal of the murder of John 
Mitters Foley, Saltis had been arrested. November 29, 
1926, armed with a .45 automatic. On December 10th, 
Municipal Judge George A. Curran sentenced him to 
serve sixty days in the Bridewell and to pay a fine of 
$50 for carrying concealed weapons. Saltis' attorney 
was W. W. O'Brien, who represented him in the Foley 
trial and was wounded in the machine-gunning of Earl 
Hymie Weiss. 

O'Brien, when Judge Curran imposed sentence, made 
a motion for a new trial, which was overruled. He 
then took an appeal to the appellate court, and Saltis 
was allowed his freedom on his original bond. 

The appellate court sustained Judge Curran. O'Brien 
took an appeal to the State supreme court. On April 
26, 1927, that court handed down a decision reaffirming 
the municipal-court conviction. 

With Saltis still at liberty, the case was next appealed 
to the United States Supreme Court, the chief con- 
tention being that since Saltis' life had been threatened, 
he was entitled to carry a gun for self-protection. On 
May 15, 1928, that court denied the appeal, dismissing 
as "frivolous" the contention that Saltis had a right to 
go armed. 

In the meantime, O'Brien had filed an application 

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for a pardon with the State board of pardons and 
paroles. It was not granted. A year and five months 
had elapsed since Judge Curran imposed sentence, and 
that would have been the maximum period Saltis 
could legally have avoided serving the jail term. 

However, when the United States Supreme Court 
handed down its finding he fled the city for the north 
woods of Wisconsin and did not return until December 
16, 1928, going to the Bridewell December 21st, after 
two years and eleven days of hide-and-seek with the 
law. 

A new spirit was abroad in Chicago; animating dis- 
cussions in homes, clubs, and public places; energizing 
reflection; rallying opinion. The mass consciousness had 
been stirred. People were thinking. Voices other than 
those of politicians were making themselves heard. 

The Rev. M. P. Boynton, once an ardent supporter 
of Mayor Thompson, and for thirty years pastor of 
the Woodlawn Baptist Church, was preaching a sermon 
on local conditions, quoting a statement that "the 
fraudulent vote cast in the last [1927] mayoralty elec- 
tion was more than 100,000," and that "this was suffi- 
cient to throw the election which ever way the men 
responsible for those frauds wanted it to go." 

He emphasized the fact that "no one seems to know 
anything about the recent bomb outrages, while a group 
robbing a mail train is almost at once run down by the 
police, indicted and put behind the bars under bonds 
of $100,000. 

"Why can the police in our city so quickly appre- 
hend one gang and be so ignorant of and helpless in 
the hands of another gang?" 

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A town meeting of lawyers, judges, and business men 
was being called by Silas H. Strawn, president of the 
American Bar Association. A few hours before it con- 
vened there was a triple slaying in Chicago Heights, 
three men who were attempting to hijack a Capone 
booze truck being taken for a ride. 

Mr. Strawn, who had just returned from China, 
thought crime was no greater in Chicago than else- 
where, but "there is more than there should be." Chief 
Hughes had statistics to show that he had reduced it, 
and said Chicago was maligned. He made a plea for 
three thousand more policemen. T. E. Donnelley, chair- 
man of the citizens' committee, could not believe that 
crime had been reduced materially. He foresaw a long 
hard fight against it, "or else the criminals will be 
running the country." 

G. L. Hostetter, executive secretary of the Em- 
ployers' Association, addressing a luncheon meeting of 
the Chicago Association of Commerce, listed sixty-one 
rackets levying tribute on as many lines of legitimate 
enterprise. He cited specific cases of rule by the 
gun — that of a man who tried to start a small window- 
washing concern without the ante to the racket boss, 
and was murdered; that of another who attempted to 
haul machinery, and was murdered; that of an inde- 
pendent junk-dealer who stood in the way of a monopoly 
of the waste-paper business, and was murdered. 

"In one instance," he said, "we find collusion be- 
tween union organizers and one of our beer gangs in 
an effort to unionize the employees of a manufacturer." 

Frank J. Loesch, president of the Chicago Crime 
Commission, was voicing a distinctive characteristic of 

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slacker citizenship, although he did not so describe 
it. He merely said: 

"There are too many good citizens asking for and 
receiving from judges improper excuses from jury 
service. About forty per cent of those summoned for 
jury service in the criminal court are excused." 

Congregations of five hundred churches were holding 
prayer services for Chicago's "deliverance from po- 
litical corruption at the April primaries." Typical of 
the invocations was that of the Rev. John Thompson 
of the Chicago Methodist Temple, the Loop's sky- 
scraper church, whose gold-leafed spire and cross rise 
serenely above the turmoil of hived humanity, at Clark 
and Washington streets, eater-cornered from the City 
Hall and County Building: 

"O Thou that didst care for Nineveh, and didst spare 
it, and Thou that didst weep over Jesusalem, dost Thou 
still brood over these great modern cities? We pray 
Thee to rule over Chicago — this young and strong, good 
and bad, city — and out of man's worst, bring Thine 
own best." 

Within two weeks the sawed-ofT shotguns roared a 
finis to the devious career of Diamond Joe Esposito, 
fifty-eight poisoned slugs, fired at almost point-blank 
range, burying themselves in his pudgy body. United 
States Senator Charles S. Deneen hurried home from 
Washington, and the fight was on. 

Esposito's death was of tremendous significance. He 
was a leader in the Deneen faction of the Republican 
party, opposing the America Firsters. In the old Nine- 
teenth Ward — now the Twenty-fifth — the Italian dis- 
trict, he was by way of being a political, social, and 

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business institution. "Dimey," they called him. His 
name was a household word. No christening, no wed- 
ding, no funeral, no saint's day, was complete without 
Dimey's presence. In the Christmas holidays- he gave 
his annual party and played Santa Claus for the poor 
children. He was the ward's godfather. 

The result was apparent at election times. Like his 
friend, Big Jim Colosimo, and like Mike Merlo, 
Esposito, in the vernacular of the Chicago ward heeler, 
was a sheepherder: he delivered votes. 

His career has a bearing on this story. Fifty-six years 
old, he was born in the town of Accera, seven miles 
from Naples, April 28, 1872. In 1895, when twenty- 
three years old, he emigrated to America. He worked 
as a day laborer in Boston and Brooklyn, saving his 
money. He came to Chicago in 1905, settling in the old 
Nineteenth Ward and opening a bakery. In 1910 he 
bought a saloon and restaurant at 1048 West Taylor 
Street. It was there in 1917 that one Cuono Coletta 
shot up a spaghetti party, Joe's brother, Sam, losing 
a finger. Coletta's head was blown off by a guest who 
happened to have his artillery handy. 

In his exploiting activities, Esposito went a step be- 
yond Colosimo. Whereas Big Jim had banded his fel- 
low countrymen into the Street Cleaners' Social and 
Athletic Club, but had eschewed the labor game as too 
dangerous, Diamond Joe organized his constituents 
into the International Hod Carriers' Building and Con- 
struction Laborers' Union, becoming their business 
agent and treasurer. He also founded, and was presi- 
dent of, the Circolo Accera, composed of men and 
women from his Italian birthplace and its environs. 

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He was indicted for murder in October of 1908. The 
charge was that he had shot Mack Geaquenta, a bar- 
ber, during an argument over a woman. The bullet 
struck Geaquenta in the mouth and he died without 
regaining consciousness. The shooting occurred in 
August. The case was not called for trial until June of 
1909. The State's witnesses, whose testimony had 
brought about the indictment, weakened in their identi- 
fication of him in court, and the case was stricken off, 
with leave to reinstate. 

In 1913 he married a pretty sixteen-year-old Italian 
girl, Carmela Marchese. He was then forty-one. The 
wedding, according to his own estimates, cost $65,000, 
of which $40,000 went for wine. The celebration lasted 
three days, the entire Nineteenth Ward participating. 

Esposito 's debut into politics was spectacular. In 
1920, he entered the lists as a Deneen candidate for 
Republican ward committeeman against Chris Mamer, 
a veteran campaigner and the Thompson entry. That 
year — it was during Mr. Thompson's second adminis- 
tration — with one exception the Thompsonites made a 
clean sweep of the thirty-five wards then comprising 
Chicago. The exception was the Nineteenth, where 
Esposito beat Mamer hands down. He was the only 
Deneenite- to win. It attracted city-wide attention to 
him. 

The victory, with its attendant celebrity, caused him 
to open the Bella Napoli cafe at 850 South Halsted 
Street, celebrated for its cuisine and as a rendezvous 
for politicians. The manager was Tony Mops Volpi, a 
deputy sheriff, whose appointment Esposito had ob- 
tained, and who was later sent to prison for complicity 

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in a counterfeiting plot. Dry agents raided the place in 
June of 1923, seizing a quantity of wines and liquors, 
and it was padlocked for a year. Esposito pleaded guilty 
to violating the prohibition laws and was fined $1,000. 

In the meantime, with Senator Deneen's support, he 
had again sought office, as a candidate for Cook 
County commissioner. He won the nomination, but was 
defeated in the election. 

Too shrewd to become openly involved in the bootleg 
war, he operated always with the factor of safety in 
mind. He was associated with the Gennas before their 
break with Capone; he sold sugar to the big alky- 
cooking syndicate in Melrose Park, a suburb north- 
west of Cicero; in Chicago Heights, Capone territory, 
he owned the Milano cafe, where dry agents found a 
1,000-gallon still, 3,800 gallons of alcohol, fifteen bar- 
rels of wine, and two barrels of whiskey. 

His brother-in-law, John Tucillo, a booze runner for 
Ralph Sheldon of the Capone South Side outfit, was 
taken for a ride and his body left in a car in front of 
Sheldon's home, in one of the most atrocious reprisals 
of the bootleg war. Another brother-in-law, Phillip 
Leonatti, was shot to death in his cigar store. These 
facts will suffice to acquaint the reader with Esposito's 
political and business background. 

The social side of him was unique. He had a passion 
for festal entertaining. For twenty years his annual 
St. Joseph's Day parties were the outstanding events 
of the Nineteenth Ward. It was as a dinner host, how- 
ever, that he excelled, and the biggest affair at which 
he ever presided was the victory banquet in February 
of 1925 to celebrate Mr. Deneen's election to the United 

196 



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States Senate. It was given in the Gold Room of the 
Congress Hotel. More than one thousand five hundred 
guests, including all the precinct captains and their 
families, assembled, and Mr. Deneen was presented 
with a bronze bust of himself. 

Local notables present were Municipal Court Judges 
John J. Lupe, Edgar A. Jonas, William E. Helander, 
Joseph W. Schulman, William L. Morgan, George A. 
Curran, John A. Bugee, Francis B. Allegretti, William 
R. Fetzer, and George B. Holmes; Circuit Court 
Judges Victor P. Arnold and Hugo M. Friend; Supe- 
rior Court Judge Harry B. Miller; County Recorder 
Joseph F. Haas; State Supreme Court Clerk Charles 
Vail; Municipal Court Clerk James H. Kearns. Father 
Francis Breen invoked the divine blessing. 

The friendship and alliance of Senator Deneen — a 
parliamentarian dry who voted for the Jones five-and- 
ten law — with Esposito provides another of the anom- 
alies of prohibition as is. 

Deneen was present in November of 1925 at the chris- 
tening party for Esposito 's son, Charles Anthony, who 
was named for him. It was held at the Bella Napoli 
cafe, from which the Federal padlock had been re- 
moved a twelvemonth previously. 

Esposito was perhaps the most pampered of his kind 
in Chicago. In 1923, after he had been fined for violat- 
ing the prohibition laws, he went to Italy — his first and 
only journey to the land of his birth. Arrived there, 
he received a testimonial that he cherished until his 
death. It was a scroll bearing his photograph, with 
American and Italian flags intertwined. Inside was a 
message of good-will, with assurances of welcome upon 

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AL CAPONE 

his return. On the back were the signatures, among 
others, of Governor Len Small, Mayor Thompson, Sen- 
ator Deneen, and County Clerk Robert M. Sweitzer. 

One by one, Esposito had seen both friends and ene- 
mies die by the gun — Big Jim Colosimo, with whom 
he had worked as a day laborer in Brooklyn, at whose 
funeral in 1920 he had served as pallbearer, and who 
had introduced Torrio to Chicago; Paul A. Labriola 
and Anthony D 'Andrea, victims of the aldermanic 
campaign of the thirty assassinations in 1921; 
Sam Samoots Amatuna; three of the six Gennas — 
Tony, Mike, and Angelo. He had seen them die, and 
on the morning of March 21, 1928, he had had his 
own warning, over the telephone — a seven-word mes- 
sage: 

"Get out of town or get killed." 

His associates implored him to leave. 

"I can't go," he told them. "Just today, my boy 
Joseph was taken down with scarlet fever; and I 
promised Senator Deneen I would run for ward com- 
mitteeman." 

A determined contest was being waged by the Amer- 
ica Firsters for that post, their candidate being Joseph 
P. Savage, a former assistant State's attorney. 

"But," remonstrated Esposito's friends, "you ought 
to go down to that farm of yours [near Cedar Lake, 
Indiana] and raise chickens for a while." 

He shook his head. He had a two-man bodyguard, 
the brothers Ralph and Joe Varchetti. He wasn't 
afraid. In the evening he visited his headquarters, the 
Esposito National Republican Club, at 2215 West 
Taylor Street, a few blocks from his home, at 800 

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South Oakley Boulevard. He left the club with the Var- 
chettis. 

To quote verbatim from Ralph Varchetti's testimony 
at the inquest: 

We went back to the drugstore, and after staying about 
fifteen minutes, Dimey said, "Let's go home," and we started 
off, putting him between us. 

We met a woman on the way — she was an election clerk, and 
Dimey told her to do what she could in the primary to win him 
votes — and we stopped for a few minutes while he talked to 
her. Then we went along Oakley, and when we got about to 
810 South Oakley, we heard a shot. I thought it was a blow- 
out. 

Then there were more shots, and Joe says, "O my God !" and 
I knew he was hit. I dropped to the sidewalk and lay flat, with 
my face in the dirt. I could see Dimey twisting and sinking to 
the sidewalk. The shots came in bursts of fire from an auto- 
mobile which had driven alongside of us, from behind. 

When the firing stopped a second, I looked up and they 
fired again. I dropped flat, and this time waited until they were 
gone. 

I got near Dimey and tried to wake him. He was gone. 

Only meager descriptions were forthcoming from the 
Varchettis — three men in an automobile; they didn't 
recognize them; they couldn't identify them; they 
didn't notice the make of car. The only clues were two 
sawed-off double-barreled shotguns and a revolver, 
which the assassins tossed out as they sped away. 

The girl bride of 1913 — now a woman of thirty- 
one — had seen it. She had been hearing whisperings. 
She was keeping vigil at a front window, with the three 

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children — Vjseph, thirteen; Jeanette, nine; and 
Charles, three. She ran to the sidewalk. 

"Oh, is it you, Giuseppe?" she wailed, and saw that 
it was he. 

There he lay, on his back, the diamonds that had 
gained him his nickname glittering in the moonlight — 
the $5,000 solitaire ring on his right hand; the belt 
buckle, with the initials J. E. patterned in diamonds; 
the tie-pin and the shirt studs. 

"He was so good to the Italian people and this is 
what he got for it," she moaned; then, in an access of 
grief, "I'll kill! I'll kill them for this!" 

She didn't. Her lips were sealed at the inquest. She 
maintained the tradition of the "Italian wall of silence." 
The police had their theories — booze, politics, the 
Mafia — but no solutions. The coroner finally wrote it 
off, "Slayers not apprehended." 

Diamond Joe was laid to rest in Mount Carmel 
Cemetery beside Mike Merlo, Dion O'Banion, Vincent 
the Schemer Drucci, and others. Among those attend- 
ing the funeral were Senator Deneen, Assistant United 
States District Attorney William Parello, Chief Justice 
Harry Olson of the municipal court, Judge William J. 
Lindsay of the criminal court, and Bernard P. Barasa. 

His death keyed a campaign that was to be memo- 
rable for invective and violence. Senator Deneen, still 
noncommittal in public but vehement in private, seek- 
ing to hold aloof from the local melee, returned to 
Washington, but not for long. A twin bombing — with 
"pineapples" — within five days brought him back on 
March 26th. 

One bomb, charged with dynamite, wrecked the front 

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of his three-story frame residence at 457 West 61st 
Street. The only persons there were Miss Florence 
Deneen, his sister, and Mrs. Anna Rhodes, a maid. The 
other bomb, thrown from a black coupe at the home 
of Judge John A. Swanson, 7217 Crandon Avenue, 
landed in the driveway just as Judge Swanson was turn- 
ing in from the street. It exploded three seconds before 
his car would have passed over it. 

Senator Deneen ended his silence. 

"The criminal element is trying to dominate Chi- 
cago by setting up a dictatorship in politics," he said. 

Judge Swanson, who was the Deneen candidate for 
State's attorney, declared: 

"The pineapple industry grew up under this adminis- 
tration. " 

United States Marshal Palmer Anderson in a mes- 
sage to Attorney General Sargent asked for five hun- 
dred deputy marshals to guard the polls. 

Senator George W. Norris of Nebraska was suggest- 
ing that President Coolidge withdraw the Marines from 
Nicaragua and send them to Chicago. 

Mayor Thompson, whose explanation of the bombs, 
like that of State's Attorney Crowe, was that "they 
were the work of the Deneen faction because they ex- 
pect defeat in the primary," had a new theory as to 
Esposito's murder: 

"They [the Deneen faction] sent prohibition agents 
here and then some of their own people ran to Joe for 
protection. He couldn't give it to them, and they 
wanted their money back. Those birds are tough. You 
can't take their money and the next minute double- 
cross them." 

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AL CAPONE 

Which led the Deneenites to retort that Chief Hughes 
was still baffled as to the identities of the bombers of 
the mayor's cabinet family. 

The mayor's reference to prohibition agents was 
caused by the activities of a special squad, which had 
arrived from Washington coincidentally with the ap- 
pointment of George E. Q. Johnson, a Deneenite, as 
United States district attorney on March 30th. In a 
raid on a South Side saloon they had shot William 
Beatty, a municipal court bailiff, in the back. His 
story was that when they entered he thought they were 
holdups and started to run. Myron C. Caffey, accused 
of shooting him, testified that he drew a gun. A Fed- 
eral grand jury promptly indicted him for resisting a 
Federal officer. 

A tense situation developed. Chief Hughes demanded 
that Caffey be surrendered to the local authorities. 
George E. Golding, head of the special squad, told him 
it was none of his or the police department's business. 
The chief obtained a warrant and his men marched 
on the Federal building. Caffey was hidden away and 
Golding defied them. 

"I will do all in my power to save Chicago citizens 
from any more suffering at the hands of the thugs and 
gunmen sent here by the Federal Government to 
further Deneen's political influence," said the mayor. 

Sentiment was with him. Salvos of applause greeted 
his statement at a large South Side meeting that 
"Deneen is filling this town with dry agents from 
Washington, who run around like a lot of cowboys with 
revolvers and shotguns. Our opponents would have us 

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believe we don't know how to run our town. Vote for 
the flag, the constitution, your freedom, your property, 
as Abraham Lincoln and William Hale Thompson 
would like to have you do." 

In his denunciation of Gol ding's tactics, he said: 

"We took out a warrant and we'll throw every damn 
dry agent in jail." 

The situation was relieved when Federal Judge 
James H. Wilkerson ruled that Caffey should be sur- 
rendered to the police — but not until after the election. 
Beatty's wound was not serious, and Caffey was not 
prosecuted. 

The mayor's stand was considered to have been sus- 
tained when Seymour Lowman, Assistant Secretary of 
the Treasury, in charge of dry-law enforcement, issued 
an order that "an officer shall not use his official author- 
ity or influence to coerce the political activity of any 
person or body." 

Chicago's choicest oases were mopped up by the 
raiders. One of them was the Rainbo Gardens, owned 
by Fred Mann, the mayor's intimate friend and a con- 
tributor to his mayoralty campaign in 1927. After the 
raid he went to Washington and protested to Secretary 
of the Treasury Mellon, alleging political persecu- 
tion. Secretary Mellon suavely agreed to "look into 
the matter," but Mann's place was eventually pad- 
locked. 

The effect of these things was to thrust the prohibi- 
tion problem and its corollaries into the forefront of 
campaign issues. 

Judge Swanson, arranging for a meeting in Elm wood 

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Park Grace Methodist Church, was informed by the 
pastor, the Rev. Thomas H. Nelson, that he would 
have to give his personal guarantee of reimburse- 
ment for damages on the event the church were 
bombed. 

"We approached eight insurance companies for poli- 
cies covering riot and civil commotion," explained the 
pastor, a and each company refused to write us cover- 
age." 

To such a pass had Chicago come in the spring of 
1928. The whirlwind was gathering. Whether the on- 
looker sided with the Deneenites or the America First- 
ers, one fact was incontrovertible: vast destructive 
forces, set in motion through years of paltering with 
the underworld and its spawn by politicians; years of 
criminal-coddling and vote-exploitation, had suddenly 
got beyond control. 

"It costs $243,000,000 to run Chicago and what are 
we getting?" asked Edward R. Litsinger, candidate for 
the Cook County board of review, addressing a noon- 
day meeting in a Loop theater. 

"Bombs!" cried the main floor. 

"Pineapples!" yelled the gallery. 

It was this incident that pegged the election as the 
Pineapple Primary. 

State Senator Herman J. Haenisch, abjuring the 
America Firsters, now opposing the mayor in his own 
ward — the Forty-sixth — for Republican committeeman, 
notified the police of a letter warning him that his 
home would be bombed and his children kidnaped if 
he did not withdraw from the race. 

All the elements of a Comedie humaine were in the 

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campaign — pathos, bathos. Here was John Dingbat 
O'Berta, bantam sidekick of the behemoth, Saltis, the 
beer peddler, announcing a double-barreled candidacy 
— for Republican committeeman of the Thirteenth 
Ward, and for the nomination for State senator from 
the fourth district. Sponsoring him, speaking in his be- 
half, was Big Tim Murphy, recently of Leavenworth 
Penitentiary, where he had been doing a stretch for 
the Polk Street station $400,000 mail robbery. Big 
Tim was to be machine-gunned soon and the Dingbat 
was to marry his widow. 

There were interludes — as when Milton Weil, com- 
poser of "America First," and collaborator with Cor- 
poration Counsel Samuel A. Ettelson on "Big Bill the 
Builder," was tendered a testimonial dinner and a 
$5,500 Lincoln car at the Hotel Sherman. The mayor 
was out of town, and Bernard P. Barasa represented 
him, referring to Mr. Weil as "one of God's noblemen." 
City Attorney William Saltiel described "Big Bill the 
Builder" as "the most inspiring song ever written 
about an individual." 

Al Capone had expanded into legitimate business. 
He had been taken into partnership by Morris Becker, 
Chicago's largest individual dyer and cleaner, who had 
been operating for forty-two years and had ten estab- 
lishments on the South and North sides of the city. 
Mr. Becker said that the Master Cleaners and t)yers 
Association wanted to control the entire industry and 
dictate prices and that "my places have been bombed 
time and again; my employees slugged; robbed and 
threatened; then without warning they were called out 
on strike. Union officials told me I would have to see 

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AL CAPONE 

Walter Crowley, manager of the Master Cleaner; 
Crowley said if I paid $5,000 and joined the associa 
tion, everything would be okey." 

Mr. Becker had bethought him of Capone, had mad© 
him an offer; he had accepted, and — 

"Now I have no need of the State's attorney's offica 
or the police department; I have the best protection 
in the world." 

There were incidents apparently detached, unrelated, 
that yet had their place in the picture — component de- 
tails of the general composition. Alderman Titus A. 
Haffa of the Forty-third Ward, the Gold Coast, an 
America First candidate for ward committeeman, and 
whom the reader may recall as having been a co-surety 
on a $10,000 bond for Dion O'Banion in a robbery 
case, was indicted by a Federal grand jury for conspir- 
acy to violate the prohibition laws. The evidence re- 
vealed that he was head of a liquor syndicate with a 
business of $5,000,000 a year. He was eventually con- 
victed, fined $11,000, and sentenced to serve two years 
in Leavenworth. 

Haffa and his colleague, Alderman Arthur F. Albert, 
in the spring of 1926, sponsored the candidacy for 
Congress of Mrs. Bertha Baur, wealthy widow, of the 
Chicago social register. She sought to defeat the in- 
cumbent, Fred A. Britten, for the Republican nomina- 
tion in the ninth district. Her campaign was sprightly 
and picturesque, the chief feature being an old- 
fashioned, horse-drawn beer truck, loaded with kegs, 
which paraded through the downtown streets. It bore 
a large sign, inscribed: 

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BEER AND LIGHT WINES 

DELIVERED TO YOUR HOME 

Vote for 

BERTHA BAUR FOR CONGRESS 

Mrs. Baur's candidacy, while unsuccessful, excited 
much comment, and the lager truck caused many 
demonstrations of popular approval, the crowds invari- 
ably acclaiming her as "Bertha Beer." 

Up to within a fortnight of the primary, the De- 
neenites' cause seemed hopeless. They had suffered an 
irreparable loss in the death of Joseph F. Haas, county 
recorder, around whose office their organization had 
been built — with six hundred jobs for their adherents. 
These jobs, at Haas' death, had reverted to the America 
Firsters. Esposito's untimely demise was another re- 
verse. 

The America First machine was the most powerful 
ever developed in Chicago. Excepting Federal appoint- 
ments, it controlled all the city, county, and State 
patronage — an army of something like 100,000 work- 
ers. And it was axiomatic that the machine had never 
been beaten in a primary election. Predictions were 
that it would win with majorities ranging from 90,000 
to 150,000. 

Admittedly, the ticket had encumbrances in Gov- 
ernor Small, seeking a third-term nomination, and 
Colonel Frank L. Smith, candidate for the United 
States Senate, but Mayor Thompson's generalship and 
proved campaigning ability were relied upon to carry 
them through. 

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The governor's record of pardons — more than 8,000 
— was against him, and he had also been involved in 
the scandal of the diversion of State funds while State 
treasurer. He had been tried, after many delays and 
changes of venue, before Circuit Court Judge Claire C. 
Edwards, at Waukegan, Lake County, on a charge of 
embezzling $500,000, and had been acquitted. 

Investigating charges of jury-bribing, a grand jury 
summoned Umbrella Mike Boyle, Chicago labor boss, 
and Ben Newmark, political protege of Corporation 
Counsel Ettelson. They refused to testify and were 
sentenced to serve six months in jail for contempt. 
Governor Small commuted their sentences after they 
had served thirty days. Newmark in the interim had 
become an assistant State fire marshal. He was later 
murdered. 

Two members of the Small jury were appointed 
State highway commissioners, a third an assistant 
State game warden, and Sheriff Elmer I. Green of Lake 
county, State superintendent of prisons. In a master- 
in-chancery suit, Governor Small was ordered to repay 
the State $650,000, which he did. 

Colonel Smith, in November of 1926, had been 
elected United States Senator to succeed William B. 
McKinley, whose term expired March 4, 1927. Mr. 
McKinley died in December of 1926, and Governor 
Small appointed Colonel Smith to serve out his unex- 
pired term in the Sixty-ninth Congress. He was not 
permitted to take his seat. 

Appearing again at the opening of the Seventieth 
Congress, he was again excluded, and Vice President 
Dawes appointed a committee to investigate his canv 

208 



AL CAPONE 

paign expenditures. Testimony revealed that he had 
spent $458,782, of which $203,000 had been con- 
tributed by public utilities magnates of Chicago, 
Samuel Insull's share being $158,000. This at the time 
when Colonel Smith was chairman of the Illinois 
Commerce Commission. He had given up his creden- 
tials in January of 1928 and was again submitting his 
case to the electorate. 

Another disclosure was that Mr. Insull, through At- 
torney Daniel Schuyler, law partner of Corporation 
Counsel Ettelson, had advanced $35,000 to the Thomp- 
son organization. The Ettelson-Schuyler firm handled 
Mr. InsulPs legal business. 

For member of the Cook County board of review, 
the America Firsters were running Bernard P. Barasa, 
an assistant corporation counsel, against Litsinger, in- 
cumbent and Deneenite. For the state's attorneyship, 
Judge Swanson was opposing Robert E. Crowe, a man 
of brilliant intellect and promise, accounted the ablest 
prosecutor Cook County ever had, and considered by 
his friends to be headed for the governorship. 

Mayor Thompson was seeking no office, except that 
of committeeman of the Forty-sixth Ward, his election 
to which was regarded as a foregone conclusion. His 
role was that of director general of the fight; com- 
mander-in-chief of the machine's city, county, and 
State forces. 

As has been said, the Deneenites' cause seemed hope- 
less up to within a fortnight of the primary. They 
could not get going, while the America Firsters were 
steaming along at top speed, with Mayor Thompson 
vigorously prosecuting his "Draft Coolidge" move- 

209 



AL CAPONE 

merit, farm relief, waterways, anti- world court, and no 
entangling alliances — not overlooking, occasionally, 
His British Majesty. 

" Bourbon has increased in price from $1.50 to $15 
a bottle," he told an audience, "and King George's rum- 
running fleet, eight hundred miles long, lies twelve 
miles off our coast. So every time you take a drink, 
you say, 'Here's to the king!' " 

Then occurred the bombing of Senator Deneen's 
home and the tossing of a bomb at Judge Swanson's 
car. A reaction set in, which was accelerated when the 
opposition ascribed both outrages to "the Deneenites 
themselves," as a maneuver for sympathy. The shift in 
public sentiment was self-evident, but not overwhelm- 
ingly pronounced. Its strength was undetermined, de- 
batable. The moment was like that when one stands 
on the seashore at ebb, just before the turn. 

The evening of Tuesday, April 3d, Mayor Thompson 
was speaking at Prudential Hall, North Avenue and 
Halsted Street, hard by the river, Goose Island, and 
the switch-yards, where the women folk wear cotton 
stockings and the men red flannel underwear. 

"Litsinger," he shouted, "was brought up back of the 
gashouse, but it wasn't good enough for him, so he 
moved up to the North Side [the Gold Coast] and left 
his poor old mother behind. . . ." 

There was an interruption. A woman in the audience 
had leaped to her feet. 

"You're a liar, Mayor Thompson!" she screamed. 
"My mother died long before my brother moved." 

She was Litsinger 's sister. 

The meeting ended in pandemonium. 

210 



AL CAPONE 

In politics, as in war, apparent trifles often decide 
the outcome. The whole character of the campaign 
changed from that night. Litsinger, stung to the quick, 
lashed out with a fury unprecedented even in Chicago, 
where vituperation is accepted as a matter of course. 
He saw red. 

"This low-down hound," he thundered the next day 
from the stage of the Olympic Theater, "who degrades 
himself and the city of which he is mayor, is guilty of 
as false and malicious a lie as was ever uttered in a 
political campaign. This man, who claims to possess 
the intelligence and instincts of a human being, digs 
down in a grave that was closed twenty years ago, and 
blasphemes the memory of my dear old German 
mother. 

"Thompson knows that my dear old mother died 
twenty years ago, that she lived in my home up to the 
day of her death, and that from the time I was able 
to earn a dollar, she shared everything I had. For ten 
years, while I worked in an insurance office and studied 
law at night to become a lawyer, my mother and I 
lived on my salary of $70 a month. 

"I did come from back of the gashouse, in Bridge- 
port, and from the bitterest kind of poverty. It's be- 
yond politics. This is a question of ordinary human 
decency. When this befuddled big beast dares go back 
twenty years to desecrate my character as the faithful 
son of a poor old German mother, he should be tarred 
and feathered, and ridden out of town on a rail." 

It was high irony and drama that the mayor and 
Litsinger should thus be juxtaposed. They had once 
been political bunkies. In the mayoralty campaign of 

211 



AL CAPONE 

1919, Litsinger had been not only his supporter, but 
also his close adviser. 

They were of and by Chicago — reared and bred to 
the environment — "talking the language" — adapted 
physically and mentally to its ebullient life, to the 
clamor of its growth. Each had a spacious animality 
of spirits — a gusto for the fustian and the hurlyburly; 
each was seasoned by many a campaign to the rough 
and tumble of the hustings. 

For more than a decade — since his discovery by Fred 
Lundin as "presidential timber" — the mayor had been 
without a peer as a political speaker. His appeal to the 
crowd was irresistible, comparable to that of a Billy 
Sunday. He was a born showman. Consciously or un- 
consciously, he had dramatized himself. He was Big 
Bill Thompson — Big Bill the Builder. He was Chica- 
go's platform champion, and none had successfully 
challenged him; no opponent had ever withstood his 
withering fire of sarcasm and invective. 

Litsinger, in the public mind, had never been re- 
motely associated with him as a rival. Litsinger was 
only another member of the board of review — no color 
there — no appeal — no chance of dramatization. Lit- 
singer, anyway, had had his innings against Thompson; 
in the 1927 primaries he had contested for the Repub- 
lican nomination for mayor and had been snowed 
under, Thompson getting 342,237 votes to his 161,947. 

Therein lay the irony and the drama of their juxta- 
position a week before the primary election. Blind to 
all issues, oblivious to the hokum of politics, Litsinger, 
a Stromboli of stentors, unpent his verbal lava, smok- 
ing hot. He was blighting, devastating: 

212 



AL CAPONE 

"This man with the carcass of a rhinoceros and the 
brain of a baboon." 

Again: 

"Big Bill vilified my family and desecrated the 
memory of my mother. I have here," waving an en- 
velope, "affidavits relating to the life of the big baboon. 
Shall I read them?" 

"Go ahead!" yelled the gallery. "Give him both 
barrels!" 

"No," cried a woman, "don't do that!" 

"No," said Litsinger, whom the press had now tagged 
as the "Bridgeport Battler," "that old German mother 
of mine this man has struck at through me, is looking 
down on me from above, and may God strike me 
speechless if I ever descend to the level of Thompson." 

It was not etiquette by the book; it was not cultured; 
Lot refined; not edifying; to the fastidious it would 
lave smacked of the barroom — billingsgate. It was 
•aw human stuff, distilled from the sweat and the soil 
>f the Middle West. It was "the language," and the 
tass of the citizenry understood it, avidly devoured it, 
ipplauded it uproariously. Overflow houses greeted the 
leneenites, where before there had been empty seats, 
atsinger had broken the Thompson-crowd grip. A new 
)latform champion had been acclaimed. 

The psychological value was incalculable. Thereto- 
Fore the stigma of "reformers," in itself sufficient to 
lefeat any ticket in Chicago, had attached to the 
>eneenites and particularly to Judge Swanson. Lit- 
iinger counteracted it. He obtained a hearing for his 
side. His fulminations registered. 

"You know the Three Musketeers," he roared. 

213 



AL CAPONE 

"They are Big Bill, Len Small, and Frank L. Smith. 
The right way to pronounce it is the Three Must-Get- 
Theirs. InsulPs shadow is over everything in the 
Small-Smith-Thompson combination." 

Corporation Counsel Ettelson he described as "In- 
sull's personal luggage." He said it was more than a 
coincidence that the America Firsters should choose for 
"one of the foremost places on their ticket, Barney 
Pineapple Barasa, who is president by proxy of the 
Unione Sicilione, which he now calls, for political pur- 
poses, the Italo- American Union. It is more than a co- 
incidence that Barasa is closely associated with Tony 
Lombardo, whose association with Al Capone is only 
too well known." 

As to the bombings: 

"All Big Bill has to do is to stop singing 'America 
First' long enough to call Barney Barasa, pal of Al 
Capone, into his private office at the Hotel Sherman, 
and say to him, * Barney, who is responsible for these 
bombings? Did Al Capone plant those pineapples?' 
And Barney would be able to tell him. If it was not 
Capone, Bill could say, 'Well, who was it then?' And 
Barney would be able to tell him. In five minutes Bill 
could find out." 

And Judge Swanson was voicing the question that 
was to dog State's Attorney Crowe to the end of his 
career : 

"Who killed McSwiggin?" 

There was no answer to that, and there was none to 
the assertion that Barasa was connected with the newly 
organized Italo-American Union. He admitted it. 

State Senator Herman J. Haenisch, opposing the 

214 



AL CAPONE 

mayor in his own ward for committeeman, was declar- 
ing that "the present Republican machine has exacted 
such tribute from gamblers and moonshine parlors that 
they have been forced to plunder their victims as never 
before in order to make payments of graft." 

Indications that all was not well within the ranks of 
the America Firsters came two days after Litsinger 
went into action. As rumors persisted that leaders were 
selling out the ticket to have themselves elected ward 
committeemen, the mayor summoned the county cen- 
tral committee, and said: 

"We have no place for trimmers and double-crossers. 
We are in this fight for the people, to protect them from 
the thugs brought here by Senator Deneen's friends 
under the guise of dry agents." 

He then made two remarkable statements, which 
were widely quoted. One was: 

"Should Deneen's candidate for State's attorney win 
next Tuesday, we will seriously consider resigning from 
office." 

The other one had to do with Attorney General Oscar 
larlstrom, who had intimated that he might call a 
special grand jury to investigate some of the mayor's 
issociates. 

"If Carls trom attacks me, as I understand he 

ireatens to do," he said, "I will resign and ask Presi- 
[ent Coolidge to turn the Federal patronage over to 
te. I will recommend a new United States district at- 
torney and start something myself." 

In the beginning, the campaign had been interna- 
;ional in scope — anti-world court and no foreign en- 
:anglements; with a broad domestic program — Draft 

215 



AL CAPONE 

Coolidge, farm relief, flood control, and waterways. 
Now, at the close, these had been shunted into the 
discard. The election was to pivot on the issues of the 
alliance between politics and crime; the City Hall and 
the Unione Sicilione; Al Capone; rule by the gun and 
the bomb. 

Easter Sunday, two days before the primary, in a 
thousand and one churches throughout the city the 
clergy devoted the services to exhortation and prayer. 

"We have a governor who ought to be in the peni- 
tentiary," said the Rev. Asa J. Ferry, standing among 
the Paschal lilies in the pulpit of the Edgewater Pres- 
byterian Church. 

"Ours is a government of bombs and bums, of 
grafters and corrupt politicians/' said Louis L. Mann, 
rabbi of Sinai Congregation. 

"O Lord! May there be an awakening of public 
spirit and consciousness," prayed the Rev. Charles W. 
Gilkey of the fashionable Hyde Park Baptist Church. 
"Grant that we may be awakened to a sense of our 
public shame." 

"Chicago needs a cleaning. I hope every man and 
woman goes to the polls," said the Rev. Walter A. 
Morgan, D.D., of the New Congregational Church. 

"Vote as a sacred Christian duty," urged the Rev. 
James S. Ainslie of the Argyle Community Church. 
His Easter-morn congregation was greeted with a 
placard bearing the inscription, "Bad officials are 
elected by citizens who do not vote." 

Newspaper correspondents from the East, the West, 
the North, and the South, mobilized as on a battle- 
front. The London and the Paris press were repre- 

216 



AL CAPONE 



sented by men from their New York City and Wash- 
ington bureaus. The eyes of the world were on the 
Pineapple Primary. 

"Will they get out and vote?" was the paramount 
question. 

The registration in Chicago was 1,228,283. Based 
on past records, a percentage of 53.71 of the total vote 
was a fair average in a primary. The 1924 presidential 
primary had established that figure. The 1927 mayor- 
alty primary vote, the highest to date, had been 
68,511 or 58.48 per cent. The wiseacres were predict- 
ing something like that this time — around 695,000. 
Eliminating 165,000 of that as belonging to the Demo- 
cratic party, in which there was no contest, the Re- 
ublican vote would be 430,000. 
The war correspondents had their fill of thrills. It 
was a day of sluggings, ballot-box stuffing by shotgun 
squads, and kidnapings, culminating in the murder 
of Octavius C. Granady, Negro attorney and ex- 
service man, and Deneen opponent of Morris Eller, 
merica Firster, for Republican committeman of the 
loody Twentieth Ward. Machine gunners pursued 
im through the streets, shooting him down after his 
ar had crashed into a tree. 
Capone, ostensibly in exile during the campaign, was 
conspicuous figure, casting his vote in his home ward, 
e Eighth, and directing activities in Cicero. 
Chicago, Cook County, and Illinois surpassed all 
xpectations. For the governorship nomination, Louis 
. Emmerson's plurality over Small was 439,792; he 
eceived 1,051,556 votes to Small's 611,764. Between 
hem they had a total of 1,663,320, an all-time Repub- 

217 



AL CAPONE 

lican record, exceeding the vote cast for Coolidge in 
the November election of 1924 — 1,453,321. Glenn for 
the United States Senate received 855,356 votes to 611,- 
879 for Smith. 

Swanson's victory over Crowe for the State's at- 
torneyship — focal point of the campaign in Chicago 
and Cook County — was equally decisive, his margin 
being 201,227. The complete vote was, Swanson, 466,- 
598; Crowe, 265,371. Crowe carried Cicero, receiving 
5,180 votes to Swanson's 4,923. 

In the privilege wards, where vice and gambling con- 
cessions were openly let, majorities were returned for 
the America First ticket — the First, where Big Jim 
Colosimo rose to power, and where Capone maintained 
his G. H. Q.; the Twenty-fifth, where Diamond Joe 
Esposito was murdered; the Forty-second, the late 
Dion O'Banion's bailiwick; Homer K. Galpin's ward, 
the Twenty-seventh; the Twentieth; the Second and 
Third, the Black Belt; and all wards where the foreign- 
born predominated. 

As in the State, so in the city and county, the Re- 
publican vote smashed precedent — reaching nearly 
800,000, confuting the wiseacres. How utter was the 
rout of the machine was indicated when the returns 
from the mayor's home ward, the Forty-sixth, disclosed 
that he had been beaten by State Senator Haenisch 
for committeeman. The administration's bond-issue 
program — thirty-one propositions, totaling $77,959,000 
for public improvements — was rejected by a two-to-one 
vote. 

It was a ballot rebellion and was so hailed by the 

218 



AL CAPONE 

press of America and of Europe. To quote editorial 
comment: 

Kansas City Star: "There is a God in Israel . . ." 

Washington Post: "The primary brought results 
that are gratifying to the entire country. It was a 
mighty blow for the restoration of law and order in 
Chicago. The voters seem to have been aroused from 
their apathy." 

St. Paul Pioneer Press: "The Republican voters 
\i Illinois have cleaned house, unaided by the 
tarines. . . ." 

San Francisco Chronicle: "The objection to having 
Chicago elections dominated by bombs and its every- 
day affairs superintended by gunmen with machine guns 
was an important factor in the election." 

New York Times: "The political revolution in Chi- 
cago came as a surprise to most political observers. 
They had thought that the city was disgraced, but not 
ashamed." 

.Louisville Courier Journal: "Chicago and Illinois 
have made a good job of it so far. It required a great 
deal to bring Chicago to its senses." 

In London, the press was gleeful. To quote: 

The Morning Post: "Evidently the self-respect of 

Chicago is tired of being made a byword and a laughing 

stock by its present mayor. It has told him in effect it is 

lis own 'snoot' rather than King George's that needs 

to be kept out of the city." 

Lord Beaverbrook's Daily Express: "Big Bill 
'hompson has been hit by his fellow citizens in Chl- 
:ago in a place where it really hurts." 

219 



AL CAPONE 

The Daily Telegraph: "A miracle has supervened, 
but whether he will resign as he vowed to do if beaten, 
is another matter." 

Paris newspapers made a Roman holdiay of it: 

"Eight Thousand Gendarmes Guard Polls in Chi- 
cago — Fusillades of Bombs — Elections a V Americainel" 
headlined the Intransigeant. 

Le Journal gravely told its 2,000,000 readers how 
"the good city of Chicago, which formerly had the 
World's Fair, and enjoys a world-wide repu'tation 
as the great center of the meat industry, has developed 
a new form of slaughter, heretofore limited to the 
stockyards. It is human lives in which that world's 
sausage metropolis is now specializing." 

In Chicago, the Herald and Examiner, a Hearst news- 
paper, which had championed the America First cause 
and supported the Thompson-Small ticket uncondi- 
tionally, stated in its leading editorial two days after 
the election: 

"The vote of Chicago in the primaries on Tuesday 
was a direct and tremendous expression of protest 
against the lawlessness and violence of booze runners, 
the gambling managers, the bombmen (sic) and the 
gunmen of Chicago. The situation had, to the minds of 
the citizens in general, got past bearing, and they freed 
their minds in the only way they could — at the polls." 

Would the mayor resign? 

"Let's analyze the situation," he said. "I haven't lost 
out so much in the election. I've got a majority of the 
ward committeemen, and the sanitary district trustees. 
You'd think I'd lost the whole fight. Why should I 
resign?" 

220 



AL CAPOLNE 

"But you said definitely youVwould get out if Swan- 
son were nominated ! " uS 

"Well, I'll say definitely no^y that I'm not getting 



out." ^ 

There soon followed the decision of Judge Hugo M. 
Friend in the realty experts' fees case. It was that the 
mayor, Michael J. Faherty, president of the board of 
local improvements; George F^Bajr ding, bounty treas- 
urer; and Percy B. Cofi%, publifc administrator, among 
others, were guilty of conspiracy and should make resti- 
tution to the city of ^245,bQ&iThe decision set forth 
that when great sums were needed for political purposes 
in 1921, they had conceived a ^)lan to pay "experts" 
some $3,000,000 to appraise AmWovements, the "ex- 
perts" turning back most qf\ ir to the Thompson 
treasury. -v 

Charles C. Fitzmorris abruptly quit as city control- 
ler. With special grand juries^eeking sources of cam- 
paign contributions, Homer I&v&alpin fled the city for 
the north woods, later resign^g as chairman of the 
Republican Cook County ceritrM committee and sail- 
ing for Europe without returning to Chicago. County 
Treasurer Harding als\left for<£urope. 

The mayor retired f rorh^poli^al activities for several 
months, going into seclusiof^n \he Eagle River country 
of Wisconsin. During most|*>f\he summer of 1928, 
Corporation Counsel Ettleso i VasVcting mayor. 



A pathetic incident occurr 



d at ttte John B. Murphy 



Hospital, where Chief Michael HWhes was recovering 
from a tonsilectomy. Assistant Corporation Counsel 
James W. Breen visited his bedside Vith a typewritten 
letter of resignation, an$/nad him si^n it. Influential 

221 



AL CAPONE 

friends of the mayor, including Corporation Counsel 
Ettelson, counseling him on ways and means of salvag- 
ing the wreck of his machine, had said that the place to 
start was in the police department. It had been the 
target of attack. It loomed in the public eye. And a 
"police shake-up" was always good strategy. So Hughes 
was sacrificed. His successor was William F. Russell, 
like him risen from the ranks, a veteran of the old- 
fashioned school. 

Actually, in its much advertised primary Chicago had 
achieved little more than a beginning. It had given itself 
a pretty fair Saturday night bath, as it were. 

The election had changed a few names. It had not 
changed the system. The conditions upon which that 
flourished still survived. 

America First was sunk. Capone and America's 
Thirst remained, in the city that votes five to one wet. 

Russell was to be as helpless as Hughes to combat 
gangster assassins and racketeer bombers. His regime 
was to last exactly twenty- two months. He was to re- 
sign June 16, 1930, following the assassination of his 
friend, Alfred J. Lingle, police reporter for the Chicago 
Tribune. Lingle's death culminated the so-called 
Slaughter Week, when eleven men were shot to death 
in ten days by gangster gunmen. 

John H. Alcock, another of those old-school police- 
men, was to succeed Russell, in the shuffle of personnel 
resulting from Lingle's death, and Mayor Thompson 
was to say to him, "Run the crooks and gangsters out 
of Chicago." He had said that to Hughes in 1927. His 
predecessor, Mayor Dever, had said it to Collins in 
1925. 

222 



AL CAPONE 

In the summer of 1928, however, it looked to the 
iverage man as if something akin to the millennium had 
arrived. The primary had solved everything. Civic 
righteousness had triumphed. A new deal was on. 

Scarcely had Russell pinned on the gold badge of 
office, when Chicago and the world were horror-stricken 
by a crime that put murder on a quantity production 
basis — the Moran gang massacre. 



223 



PART FIVE 

FATHER LOUIS GIAMBASTIANI was tacking a 
notice on the door of the church of San Filippo 
Benizi. September had come round again, bringing the 
joyous and hallowed festival of Our Lady of Loreto. It 
commemorates the legend of the holy house of Nazareth, 
in which Mary was born, received the annunciation, and 
lived during the childhood of Jesus. After His ascension, 
it was converted into a chapel by the apostles and used 
for worship until the fall of the kingdom of Jerusalem. 
Threatened by the Turks, it was carried by angels 
through the air and deposited on a hill at Tersatto, in 
Dalmatia. In 1294, the angels carried it across the Adria- 
tic to a wood near Recanti, in the province of Ancona, 
Italy; either from this wood (lauretum) or from its pro- 
prietrix, Laureta, the chapel derives its name, sacellum 
gloriosce Virginis in Loreto. 

Such the legend. Annually, in the homeland, the time 
of the Nativity of the Virgin is an occasion of national 
observance. Thousands of pilgrims journey to Loreto, 
for devotion and to make their votive offerings. In 
America, September 8th is the Italians' biggest feast 
day. An entire week is set aside for celebration. Then 
the streets of Chicago's melting-pot burgeon with 
tinseled splendor — colored lanterns strung on arches; 
placards and banners fluttering in the breeze proclaim- 
ing the spirit of festa; bunting bedecking smoke-stained 

224 



AL CAPONE 

fronts of tenements, stores, and shops; masque and har- 
lequinade replacing the hard certitudes of life; the 
city's pent-ups seeking escape from reality in illusion. 

Camaraderie and worship commingle. No window so 
humble that it does not boast its shrine of Mary and 
the Child. No man of hands so calloused or clothes so 
shabby that he does not visit his parish church. Eve- 
nings, families go strolling, the elders stopping to ex- 
change greetings and choice tidbits of gossip, to indulge, 
perchance, in folk-dancing; the youngsters to pirouette 
to the organ grinders' music. Confetti men and hawkers 
of fruits and sweetmeats come for blocks around. Car- 
nivals and fortune tellers hold forth in vacant areaways. 
And the red wine flows. 

Father Giambastiani's flock was in the thick of 
things — just east of the street of all nations, Halsted; 
in that frayed heelpiece of the Gold Coast, back of the 
water tower, where the Forty-second Ward slouches 
down to meet the river and Goose Island. 

Here once, in the endless shifting of the human tides, 
the Swedish emigrants had come, had stayed a genera- 
tion to rear families, and had passed on; then the Nor- 
wegian; then the German; now the Sicilian. As had 
their predecessors, these too had brought with them 
their old-world customs and habits of thought, includ- 
ing allegiance to, or passive acquiescence in, the anti- 
social principles of the Mafia — itself imbedded in 
centuries of misgovernment and feudal oppression, and 
whose oath of membership was to "resist law and de- 
feat justice." 

They had come direct from their tenantry of the soil 
in the near-tropical island of the Mediterranean — chil- 

225 



AL CAPONE 

dren of the sun — impulsive, unsophisticated in the 
American way, credulous, imaginative, naive, needing 
in their new environment constructive guidance, read- 
justment, stimulus. 

Something, possibly, of their attitude was expressed 
by Antonio Lombardo, when, having attained the sum- 
mit of ambition, as he and his countrymen viewed it — 
presidency of the Unione Sicilione — he was moved to 
pen a brief autobiography. This, in part, is what he 
wrote : 

Chicago owes much of its progress and its hope of future 
greatness to the intelligence and industry of its 200,000 Ital- 
ians, whose rise in prestige and importance is one of the modern 
miracles of a great city. 

No people have achieved so much from such small begin- 
nings, or given so much for what they received in the land of 
promise to which many of them came penniless. Each life story 
is a romance, an epic of human accomplishment. 

Antonio Lombardo is one of the most outstanding of these 
modern conquerors. . . . Mr. Lombardo came to America 
twenty-one years ago. He was one of hundreds who cheered 
joyously, when, from the deck of the steamer, they saw the 
Statue of Liberty, and the skyline of New York, their first sight 
of the fabled land, America. With his fellow countrymen he 
suffered the hardships and indignities to which the United 
States subjects its prospective citizens at Ellis Island with- 
out complaint, for in his heart was a great hope and a great 
ambition. 

After he had landed, he paid his railroad fare to Chicago, 
and came here with just $12 as his initial capital. . . . Mr. 
Lombardo, however, accepted the hardships as part of the game, 
and with confidence in his own ability and assurance of un- 
limited opportunities, began his career. ... He became an 

226 



AL CAPONE 

importer and exporter. . . . His political influence is due 
largely to his interest in civic affairs and his championship of 
measures for maintaining and improving standards of living, 
as well as his activity in the support of charities and benevolent 
institutions. Like most successful men, he has received much, 
but has given more to the community in which he lives. It is 
to such men that Chicago owes her greatness. 

In the church of San Filippo Benizi at this festival 
time, the tapers burned before the image of the Virgin, 
and in a niche beside the altar was the replica of the 
Santa Casa of the legend. But no one occupied the pews. 
The place was empty. The buildings of Little Sicily 
were devoid of bunting, placards, or banners, and the 
streets were deserted. 

Only Father Giambastiani was visible, standing in 
the entrance of his church. Sleeplessness had dulled the 
sparkle in his fine, kindly eyes ; his ruddy features were 
wan and drawn, his shoulders stooped. He was a man 
bowed down by sorrow and despair. He bestowed a last 
look upon the notice he had tacked on the door, turned, 
slowly descended the flight of steps, and walked away. 
The notice, translated, read: 

"Brothers! For the honor you owe to God, for the 
respect of your American country and humanity — ■ 
pray that this ferocious manslaughter, which disgraces 
the Italian name before the civilized world, may come 
to an end." 

His parish had been caught as in the jaws of a giant 
nutcracker, between the warring factions of the two 
great houses of the colony — the Lombardos and the 
Aiellos. A dozen of its menfolk had been killed within 
a year. Bombs had demolished $75,000 worth of prop- 

227 



AL CAPONE 

erty. Capone gunmen had routed Joseph Aiello, chief 
of the clan, but his followers had carried on against 
those of their countrymen aligned with Lombardo. 

Alky-cooking was the casus belli. The system of home 
stills originated by the Gennas, and numbering under 
them one hundred, had been extended to include eighty 
per cent of the colony's families. There were now in 
operation 2,500, a still for each head of a household. 
Thus did these emigrants receive their tutoring in Amer- 
icanism. 

The Unione Sicilione had become a $10,000,000-a- 
year enterprise, supplying the basic ingredient for the 
synthetic Bourbon, rye, Scotch, brandy, rum, and gin 
marketed in and around Chicago, and controlling the 
sale of sugar to the affiliated distillers of the West Side 
Italian district: Melrose Park, Cicero, and Chicago 
Heights. 

Lombardo, seated by Capone in November of 1925, 
ruled locally as a despot over some 15,000 Sicilians, and 
dominated the councils of the Unione's branches in St. 
Louis, Detroit, Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Philadelphia, and 
New York City. He was Capone's prime minister in the 
secret and largely alien organization — actually an in- 
visible government — through which Capone was en- 
abled to establish his gunman dictatorship of Chicago. 

The "political influence" to which he referred in his 
autobiography was real. The Unione demanded and re- 
ceived its share of patronage in the City Hall. Carmen 
Vacco, city sealer in the Dever administration, had ad- 
mitted at the O'Banion inquest that he was indebted to 
Mike Merlo, founder and first president, for the ap- 
pointment. In the Thompson administration, Vacco had 

228 



AL CAPONE 

been succeeded by Daniel A. Serritella, personal friend 
of Capone, a visitor at his Florida villa, and the American 
First Republican committeeman of the First Ward. The 
Unione, renamed in the Pineapple Primary campaign 
the Italo-American Union, maintained headquarters 
in the Loop, at 8 South Dearborn Street, two blocks 
from the City Hall. 

So powerful was Lombardo that all matters affecting 
the colony, even to breaches of the penal law, were sub- 
mitted to him. His arbitrament was final. His word 
was life or death. The sinister workings of the Mafia 
were never better illustrated than in the case of ten- 
year-old William Ranieri, son of A. Frank Ranieri, a 
sewer contractor. 

The boy had been kidnaped, and the ransom put at 
$60,000, with threats of torture and death if it were not 
forthcoming. Fiendishly prolonging the parents' agony, 
the kidnapers for three days had omitted to state where 
or how their agents could be approached to open nego- 
tiations. They had merely sent a daily letter by special 
delivery detailing the methods by which they proposed 
to kill the boy. The mother suffered a nervous break- 
down, and was ordered to bed by a physician. The 
father was verging on collapse. 

The morning of the fourth day — Thursday, Sep- 
tember 6, 1928 — Ranieri's telephone rang. An anony- 
mous informant said, "See Lombardo," and hung up. 
Ranieri immediately went to the Unione's Loop head- 
quarters, explained his mission to one of Lombardo 's 
secretaries, and was told to return Friday evening, "The 
chief will have some word for you then." Hope came to 
him. He knew that whatever amount Lombardo set as 

229 



AL CAPONE 

the ransom, the kidnapers would have to accept. He 
could not raise $60,000 cash. His limit was $10,000. 
He had scraped that together after much borrowing 
from relatives and friends. The kidnapers had over- 
estimated his means. 

Until then the public had been unaware of his plight. 
He had not informed the police. Fear of the Mafia had 
deterred him. He eventually got the boy back — safe and 
sound — but not through Lombardo. The press made 
such an uproar that the kidnapers were frightened into 
releasing him. The case has no relation to this story 
other than as a commentary on Lombardo r s power and 
the attitude of citizens of Italian ancestry toward the 
invisible government he represented. 

Ranieri did not get to see him that next evening. 
Lombardo had stepped out. He had left the Unione 
headquarters at 4:20 o'clock for a stroll around the 
Loop. With him were Joseph Lolordo and Joseph Fer- 
raro, his bodyguards. 

They had walked north on Dearborn, a half-block, 
to Madison, turning west on the south side of that 
swarming thoroughfare, which cleaves the geographical 
center of the city — Ferraro on Lombardo's left, Lolordo 
on his right, each of the three armed, and clasping the 
butt of his revolver where it rested in its specially con- 
structed receptacle for street wear, in an outside coat 
pocket. A block from the intersection that Chicago calls 
the world's busiest corner, State and Madison, they 
passed a popular-priced restaurant. 

It was the rush hour, when the downtown skyscrapers 
begin disgorging their 400,000 occupants; when streams 
of humanity sluice willy-nilly through the Loop — har- 

230 



AL CAPONE 

ried commuters for suburban trains; fagged shoppers 
with fretting children for elevated stations; pretty 
typists and salesladies, fresh as daisies after their day's 
work, bound for a dinner and a movie, maybe, or for 
the four walls of a cheap room and a gas-plate snack, 
maybe; sly-eyed fashion-plate loiterers and standees at 
corners and in doorways, bound for nowhere and no 
good, birds of prey and passage; respectable clerks, 
brokers, professional men, and bankers hurrying to the 
club or favorite speakeasy for an ante-prandial cock- 
tail; newsies screeching their loudest; autos honking 
their maddest; traffic coppers tootling their sharpest. 
Babel and kaleidoscope. 

As Lombardo and his bodyguard passed the restau- 
rant entrance, two men detached themselves from the 
sidewalk throng, and their hands too were in the side 
pockets of their coats. They cast quick looks up and 
down the street and then darted after the three. When 
within arm's length they opened fire. Lombardo fell in 
his tracks, two dumdum bullets in his brain, the third 
president of the Unione Sicilione to die by the gun. Fer- 
raro was struck in the spine and paralyzed in the legs. 
He lay beside Lombardo, feebly waving his .45. Lolordo, 
escaping injury, drew his revolver, and gave chase to 
the assassins, who had run east on Madison and south 
on Dearborn. Before he had gone thirty feet, he was 
overtaken by Policeman John Marcusson, who dis- 
armed him, and despite his protests backed him against 
a building, thrust an automatic into the pit of his 
stomach, and held him for the squad car in the belief 
that he was one of the assassins. They escaped. 

This might be said to be Chicago's most open gang- 

231 



AL CAPONE 

ster killing. It could hardly have been more public if 
the assassins had hired a hall. It was so conveniently 
staged — so accessibly central — that one enterprising 
newspaper, thanks to an agile photographer, was able 
to present to its readers a picture of Lombardo and 
Ferraro lying as they fell, with the crowds still milling 
about them on the sidewalk. Hundreds witnessed it. 
Scores were ready with descriptions. But in the end, it 
was written off in the familiar phraseology, "Slayers 
not apprehended." 

Lolordo saw them, knew them; in the first access of 
rage, he pleaded wildly with Policeman Marcusson for 
a chance to "get them." But at the inquest he didn't 
remember; he hadn't recognized anybody; his mind was 
a blank. 

"Who shot you?" Assistant State's Attorney Samuel 
Hoffman asked Ferraro. 

Ferraro shook his head. 

"You're going to die," Mr. Hoffman told him. 

And so he did, two days later — by the code — mute 
lipped. 

That was how it was that Father Giambastiani on the 
feast day of Our Lady of Loreto was tacking the notice 
on the door of his church. The murder had been com- 
mitted the preceding afternoon. He was a shepherd 
without a flock. For two years his parishioners had 
borne the brunt of the retaliatory terrorism in the 
Lombardo-Aiello feud. Now fear had driven them from 
the city. A thousand families, many of whom were 
neutrals, had abandoned their tenement homes to go 
into hiding in obscure villages of Wisconsin and Mich- 

232 



AL CAPONE 

igan. All butcher shops, for some inexplicable reason, 
were closed. A check revealed four hundred fewer chil- 
dren in the Edward Jenner public school, and two hun- 
dred fewer in the St. Philip's parochial school. 

The tragedy that had overtaken Father Giambastiani 
and his flock did not disturb Capone, sunning himself 
in the security of his Florida villa by the sea. These 
were only the little people — pawns of the game, can- 
non fodder in the bootleg war. Lombardo's death was 
something else. Capone, going unshaven as avouchment 
of his grief, hurriedly returned to Chicago, to super- 
vise the funeral rites and matters of a practical nature 
appertaining to the Unione Sicilione. 

The funeral was a success — seventeen carloads of 
flowers — a cortege two miles long — twelve pallbearers 
in tuxedoes — a silk American flag topped with a brass 
eagle; a silk Italian flag, topped with crown and cross; 
both furled over the bronze casket — a floral piece, sus- 
pended between two trees, bearing the name, "T. Lom- 
bardo," in pink and white carnations, the T standing 
for "Tony," his nickname. 

In the backyard of the home, Capone himself, hold- 
ing a reception, encircled by the bodyguard, including 
John Scalise and Albert Anselmi — the torpedo killers, 
who had helped put the Gennas on the spot; who were 
credited with a big hand in the O'B anion and Weiss 
jobs; who had knocked off two coppers and got away 
with it, Capone, shaking hands with the public, issuing 
orders to photographers — no trouble in taking pictures ; 
no camera smashing if they just took crowd pictures; 
mustn't try to get any close-ups; some of the boys 

233 



AL CAPONE 

sensitive about that — assuring reporters he had no idea 
who shot Tony. Squads of police searching automobiles 
for machine guns, fanning mourners for revolvers. 

The funeral rites had been scheduled for 10:30 in 
the morning, but Cardinal Mundelein had adhered to 
the policy established by him years ago of not allowing 
the bodies of slain gangsters to be taken into Catholic 
churches, and so, there being no church services, the 
procession to Mount Carmel Cemetery was postponed 
until the afternoon. The body was placed in a mauso- 
leum, temporarily, pending the purchase of a burial 
plot, the cardinal's ban having excluded gangsters from 
consecrated ground. A civilian read a brief ritual in 
Italian, a male quartet sang "Nearer, My God, to 
Thee," and Tony Lombardo was laid to rest without 
benefit of clergy, but with the tribute of Capone as "an 
honored citizen." 

Another kind of tribute was voiced by Frank J. 
Loesch, president of the Chicago Crime Commission, 
and in 1929 appointed a member of President Hoover's 
Law Enforcement Commission. Nine days after the 
funeral, with ten-year-old William Ranieri still miss- 
ing and Judge Frank Comerford of the superior court 
caling for "annihilation of the Mafia," Mr. Loesch said: 

"Judge Comerford has acted on a conviction that has 
been steadily growing among the people; that law en- 
forcement has broken down completely when it comes 
to the arrest, prosecution, and attempt to convict such 
gang murderers as the Mafia gunmen. We cannot have 
law and order for ninety-nine per cent of the people, and 
anarchy for one per cent, when the anarchy is destruc- 
tive of our peace, our security, our safety. . . . All 

234 






AL GAPONE 

three of the special grand juries have condemned the 
inefficiency of the police and their almost patent alliance 
with the criminals. 

"And who are the gangsters seemingly tied up to this 
family tree? Scar face Al Capone, vice, gambling, and 
liquor king, and the recently murdered Tony Lombardo. 
Lombardo is dead, but his organization — the Mafia — 
the kidnapers of little Billy Ranieri — is still organized 
and ready to function uninterruptedly. 

"Lombardo was actual master of the Unione Sicilione, 
which has become the Italo- American Union. ... All 
the kidnapings, blackmail, terrorism, murders, and 
countless other crimes, committed in the name of the 
dread Mafia, sprang from the minds of Lombardo and 
the men who are now fighting to take the place vacated 
by his death. 

"It was Lombardo who ruled the alcohol cookers. 
They bought their sugar from him or they died. The 
people paid him tribute on their cheese and their olive 
oil. And part of these spoils, the extortions from the 
fathers of kidnaped children, the profits of the alcohol 
sales, we hear, went into the political coffers. . . . 

"Capone, partner of Lombardo, ruled in other ways. 
Through him the family tree spreads to take in the 
names of Jack Guzik and Ralph Capone. Guzik runs 
the brothels and the beer and booze syndicate; others, 
the dog-races and gambling — crooked races and crooked 
gambling. Ralph takes to moonshining. . . . 

"The Mafia must be suppressed here as it was by 
Mussolini in Italy. The upper hand which the criminals 
are obtaining in this city by their alliance with politicians 
not only gives the city a bad reputation, but it will cer- 

235 



AL CAPONE 

tainly end in anarchy if permitted to go on a few years 
longer." 

The next to undertake the precarious incumbency of 
the Unione's presidency was Pasqualino Lolordo, elder 
brother of Joseph, the bodyguard; friend, confidant and 
business associate of Lombardo, and a staunch Capone 
man. He was inducted into office September 14th and 
managed to elude the coroner until January 8, 1929. 

The manner of his passing was by way of being a 
unique contribution to what De Quincey described as 
"murder considered as one of the fine arts." It was 
different from anything Chicago had previously seen. 
It was a demonstration by bootleg killers in progressive 
ingenuity; an example of perfected technique, of def- 
inite sophistication of method, as contrasted with the 
crudity of the sawed-off shotgun ambuscade or motor- 
ized machine gunning. 

The setting was the home, with the victim as host, 
the assassins as his guests — all the amenities of social 
intercourse obtaining: the afternoon call, the hospitable 
board, the clinking glass, the merry quip, the pledged 
toast; laughter, interrupted by the firing simultaneously 
of three revolvers. Sherlock Holmes would have fancied 
the case, if not Philo Vance. 

Lolordo and his wife, Aleina, lived at 1921 West 
North Avenue, on the top floor of a three-story, two- 
flat building, owned by him, the street floor being 
rented for shops. The block is near Milwaukee Avenue, 
one of the city's major streets, on the Northwest Side. 
It is a good neighborhood, populated by substantial 
wage-earning citizens, many of them descendants of 
pioneer families. The Lolordos lived alone, except for 

236 



AL CAPONE 

a colored maid. They had one child, a boy, Vincent, 
eighteen years old, who was attending the University 
of Illinois. 

They had been downtown shopping the morning of 
January 8th, returning to their home at 2:30 p.m. 
Awaiting them were two men, whom Mrs. Lolordo had 
seen frequently, she said, but whose names she did not 
know. They accompanied the Lolordos upstairs, chatted 
for a half-hour with Lolordo, and left. 

They had not been gone five minutes when Mrs. 
Lolordo heard a knock at the door. She was in the 
kitchen with the maid, and her husband answered it. 
Three men entered. He welcomed them with jovial 
familiarity, ushered them into the living-room, and set 
chairs for them. Two heaping platters of sandwiches, 
relishes, and pastries and a box of cigars were placed 
before them, and Lolordo got out a decanter of Bourbon 
and four bottles of wine. Then, as was his custom, he 
closed the door. 

Mrs. Lolordo, busied with housewifely duties here 
and there in the apartment, heard the resonant hum of 
their voices — noted the higher, heartier pitch and the 
louder, freer laughter as the liquor flowed. It was as 
if a group of cronies had gathered to relax in the lounge 
room of their club. An hour passed. 

"Here's to Pasqualino!" someone shouted. 

Chairs scraped across the oak floor as the company 
pushed them back to drink the health of the host. Then 
the shots. 

Mrs. Lolordo ran down the hall. The door opened as 
she reached it, and the three guests shoved her aside in 
the hurry of their departure. Pasqualino Was dead. 

237 



AL CAPONE 

Sergeants Thomas Foley and Joseph Cullerton of 
the Racine Avenue station were there within thirty- 
minutes. Foley picked up a .38 caliber revolver on the 
stairs and another of the same caliber in the living- 
room, six feet from the body. 

On the table were three half -filled glasses, and in the 
ash-trays the stubs of the cigars. The box containing 
them was open, with the lid back toward Lolordo, in- 
dicating that he had passed them around. His right 
hand still clutched his glass, and from the position of 
the arm it was evident that he was standing with the 
glass just lifted to his lips when the assassins opened 
fire. Eleven bullets struck him, in the face, neck, and 
shoulders. Seven missed, lodging in the wall or carom- 
ing off the brick fireplace behind him. One chipped the 
top of his glass. 

The place yielded no specific clues. In Lolordo's bed- 
room the police found a sawed-off shotgun, and the draft 
of a constitution for a Northwest Side branch of the 
Italo- American Union, reading, "to improve the educa- 
tion of its members, morally, economically and so- 
cially. . . ." 

Mrs. Lolordo was a hindrance rather than a help 
to the police. She did not know the men. She was positive 
of but one thing, that they were not Italians, which only 
served to complicate the mystery. She was questioned 
not only by the detectives but also at headquarters by 
City Sealer Daniel A. Serritella. 

"Slayers not apprehended," wrote the coroner. 

Two key men in the Capone system had been killed 
within four months. What had happened? 

238 



AL CAPONE 

Phantom-like, through this story, glides the figure of 
Francesco Uale, bracketing Chicago and New York City 
in gangs, crime, booze, and rackets. Frank Yale, as he 
was generally called, had been Capone's playmate in 
the Five Points days, and they had matriculated to- 
gether in the school of Johnny Torrio, Gyp the Blood, 
Lefty Louie, and their breed. Capone had gone to Chi- 
cago when prohibition opportunity beckoned ; Yale had 
remained in New York City, to become the big boss of 
the Italian colonies in the Borough Park section of 
Brooklyn, and in Mulberry Bend on the East Side; and 
to rule the Unione Sicilione, from which Capone re- 
cruited his eighteen-man bodyguard when the O'Banion 
musketeers in 1925 drove him to the cover of his 
portable fort. 

Uale was in Chicago in 1920 when Colosimo was shot 
to death; he was identified, by description, as a suspect 
by Joe Gabreala, cafe porter. Gabreala, taken East by 
detectives to confront him, weakened in his presence, 
and refused to identify him. The police theory was that 
Torrio imported him for the job. 

Uale was in Chicago the November day in 1924 when 
the torpedo killers bagged Dion O'Banion — and was 
nabbed at the La Salle Street station three minutes be- 
fore train time. 

"I came here for Mike Merlo's funeral," he said. "I 
don't know Torrio. Yes, I know Capone. I stayed over 
for a fine dinner that my friend Diamond Joe Esposito 
gave for me." 

He had a revolver, as did his traveling companion, 
Sam Pollaccia. 

239 



AL CAPONE 

"I have a permit from a Supreme Court justice of 
New York to carry it," he told the chief of police of 
that day, Morgan A. Collins. "I collect lots of money in 
New York." 

He had an alibi, and the police had neither witnesses 
nor evidence — only "moral certainties." They let him go. 

Ostensibly manager for a Brooklyn undertaking firm, 
and proprietor of a cigar factory manufacturing the 
"Frankie Yale" cigar, with his picture on the box, he 
was in reality an extortionist and an exploiter of his 
race. He exacted tribute from the rich in money and 
from the poor in toil. He organized the non-union brick- 
layers and the laundrymen, becoming their business 
agent and treasurer. 

With the advent of prohibition, he turned to hijacking 
and bootlegging, using the Unione Sicilione to establish 
himself. He lacked Capone's, let us say, civic stature; 
he did not loom so compellingly in the public eye. But 
he was as much a symbol; he was armed violence, un- 
restrained, and enjoying the usual immunity. A long 
record of criminal charges was catalogued against him, 
ranging from robbery and assault to homicide, with only 
two convictions — one for disorderly conduct, one for 
violation of the Sullivan Act, which forbids the carrying 
of concealed weapons without a permit. 

A showy dresser, he aped his friend Esposito in 
jewelry display — a three-carat diamond tie-pin, two 
solitaire rings, and a belt buckle like Joe's with his 
initials patterned in diamonds — seventy-five in all. 

Enemies had made three attempts on his life — once 
his chauffeur had been killed while driving Mrs. Uale 
home from a wedding; once the top of the car had been 

240 



;:i 






AL CAPONE 

almost blown off by shotgun slugs; once seventeen bul- 
lets had been fired into it as Uale was returning from 
Coney Island. He lived at 1402 Sixty-sixth Street r 
Brooklyn. 

Capone, in the fall of 1926, had seen the necessity — 
and financial possibilities — of coordinating the rum- 
running activities of the nation, and had acted accord 
ingly. His scheme contemplated a sort of benevolent 
monopoly; that is to say, the cooperation of gangster 
chiefs in the Middle West and lake ports with those 
of the principal cities of the Atlantic seaboard, with 
centralized control. The Unione Sicjlione supplied him I 
with a powerful nucleus, as well as a weapon, and \ 
gained respectful attention for his proposals. 

The word "necessity" is used advisedly; the motivat- 
ing factor in Capone's action was public demand. It 
requires a brief explanation: Synthetic liquor, or that 
made by the alky-cookers, is readily marketable for gen- 
eral consumption, but those of the wealthy class insist 
upon the bona fide stuff and are willing to pay for it. Be- 
fore doing so, however, this discriminating trade has the 
liquor analyzed by chemists to determine its authentic- 
ity. In bar keep technology, it has to be the "pure quill." 

Cellars stocked in 1917 and 1918 were beginning to 
get low in Chicago and its vicinity by 1926, particularly 
on the Gold Coast and in Lake Forest — the millionaire 
suburban colony. The replenishing process was causing 
famine prices to prevail. The situation set Capone to 
thinking. He concluded that the flow of imported liquor 
was not equably distributed, that, therefore, rum-run- 
ning was not properly organized. So his action. The 
downright wets of Chicago invariably point to it with 

241 



AL CAPONE 

pride when extolling Capone as a public benefactor. 

His affiliations already included Egan's Rats of St. 
Louis, the Purple Gang of Detroit, and Max Boo-Boo 
Hoff, Philadelphia's underworld boss, who controlled 
operations at Atlantic City and in New Jersey. Capone's 
own men were in charge in Florida and at New Orleans, 
inlet sources for Cuba and the Bahamas. Uale was to 
direct landings at Long Island points and guard ship- 
ments by truck from Brooklyn to Chicago. It was the 
boldest project yet to be conceived by the resourceful 
Capone, and if and when accomplished put him and his 
allies in command of more than 2,000 miles of coast line, 
and the Canadian border in the province of Ontario. 
One hesitates to speak of the value of the annual liquor 
traffic involved. An estimate by a Chicago prohibition 
official was $125,000,000. 

Uale performed his part satisfactorily — the trucks 
coming through on time and unmolested — until late in 
the spring of 1927, when hijacking started, by whom 
nobody seemed to know, least of all Uale. As it con- 
tinued Capone became suspicious. This was an old trick 
of the game. He assigned a trusted henchman, James De 
Amato, to spy on the Uale crowd. On July 1st, De 
Amato was shot to death in a Brooklyn street. 

A year later, to the day, Uale was machine- 
gunned by four men in a black Nash sedan, who cruised 
alongside his new Lincoln and poured one hundred .45 
caliber bullets at him as he was driving in Forty-fourth 
Street in the Homewood section of Brooklyn. The police 
found him, diamonds and all, slumped over the wheel, 
his .32 caliber revolver, which he had been unable to 
draw, in the right outside coat pocket. 

242 



AL CAPONE 

He had double-crossed Capone. A kinsman of the 
Aiellos, he had aligned himself with them in their feud 
with Lombardo, lending them support and men to prose- 
cute the campaign of terrorism that had desolated 
Father Giambastiani's parish. His followers, from 
whom so many killers had been recruited in the bootleg 
war, vowed to avenge him. A crew slipped out of Brook- 
lyn for Chicago, awaited its opportunity, and got it 
two months later — September 7, 1928 — in the Loop, 
when Lombardo was assassinated. From that day on, 
Capone did not sleep so well. The Pole, the Irish, the 
German, even the Neapolitan, may forget — may be 
placated by money and a new deal; the Sicilian, never. 

Uale's death gave the New York City police an in- 
teresting case and the citizens a new shiver. It marked 
the introduction of the Chicago method. It was the first 
time Thompson sub-machine guns had been used there. 
As a study in criminology it was of profound signifi- 
cance, because its ramifications not only led to the 
origins of gang killings, but also set the stage, in a sense, 
for the Moran gang massacre. 

The murder car, abandoned in the outskirts of 
Brooklyn, was recovered a couple of days later. In- 
vestigation disclosed that it had been sold originally 
by the Nash agency of Knoxville, Tennessee, to John 
McGhee, a resident of that city. Mr. McGhee had 
turned it in for resale, and two strangers, one giving 
the name of Charles Cox, had bought it, paying $1,050 
cash. They had immediately driven away and Knoxville 
had never seen them again. 

An automatic revolver and a sawed-off shotgun left 
in the car were identified by the police as belonging to 

243 



AL CAPONE 

Capone, having been bought for him prior to the murder 
by Parker Henderson, Jr., son of a former mayor of 
Miami. Henderson, testifying before a King's County 
grand jury, admitted the purchase. 

One of the machine guns (two were used, it eventu- 
ally developed) was traced through its secret number to 
Peter Von Frantzius, sporting goods dealer, of 608 
Diversey Parkway, Chicago. Sale of such firearms is not 
illegal in Illinois. Von Frantzius said that he had sold 
several over the counter to Frank Thompson, roust- 
about mystery man of Elgin, a suburb west of Chicago 
and Cicero. Thompson in turn had sold them to city 
gangsters, one of his best customers being James Bozo 
Shupe, ex-convict, since killed. Shupe, apparently, was 
the real go-between, for sub-machine guns bought by 
him turned up in the hands of Fred Burke, of the 
notorious Egan's Rats. Remember him, reader. 

Capone, subpoenaed, had a personal alibi. He had not 
been away from his Florida villa. That was not what 
Inspector John J. Sullivan, of the New York City police 
department, wanted to know. This was his theory: 

"The murder was committed by a New York gunman 
and three Chicago gunmen, who four days previously 
were visiting with Capone. They left Miami presum- 
ably for Chicago, but somewhere along the line trans- 
ferred and picked up the Nash sedan bought in Knox- 
ville." 

Disclaiming any knowledge of a plot against Uale, 
Capone informed County Solicitor R. R. Taylor of Mi- 
ami that the three guests at the villa on Friday, June 
29th (the murder was committed Monday, July 1st) 

244 



AL CAPONE 

were "Chicago fellows, and they went home. They don't 
know who killed Uale." 

They were Jack Guzik and Charles Fiaschetti, Ca- 
pone lieutenants, and City Sealer Daniel A. Serritella. 

Here, temporarily, the story leaves Uale. District At- 
torney Charles A. Dodd of Brooklyn officially closed 
the case in the grand jury rooms. It yielded no prosecu- 
tion, but it was prolific of echoes. A year afterward when 
Frankie Marlow, the racketeer and Uale's buddy, was 
killed because he "owed $250,000 to gangland bankers 
and welched," Police Commissioner Grover A. Whalen 
publicly declared : 

"The evidence gathered by Inspector Sullivan was not 
only sufficient for Capone 's indictment, but, I believe, 
sufficient to convict the Chicago gangster of murder." 

In their feud with Lombardo, the Aiellos had the help 
of the O'Banions, whose enmity toward Torrio and 
Capone was traditional. The treacherous killing of their 
three-gun florist leader had engendered a venomous ha- 
tred that resisted time and peace conferences. They 
were but a gang remnant, outnumbered and outmaneuv- 
ered, but while Earl Hymie Weiss lived their spirit was 
unyielding, invincible. Like Spike O'Donnell they 
seemed not to know when they were licked. 

"They're poison to Johnny and Al," Old Shoes had 
said. 

Their audacious exploits had put fear in both men's 
hearts — the daylight bombardment of the Cicero head- 
quarters; the three hell-bent musketeers' ride to Fifty- 
fifth and State streets, to riddle Capone 's sedan with 
slugs and bullets ; the shooting down of Torrio in front 

245 



AL CAPONE 

of his home. These things rankled with the Scarface. 
They were "unfinished business." 

George Bugs Moran, who succeeded to the leader- 
ship with the machine-gunning of Weiss, had his full 
quota of intestinal fortitude, but otherwise did not meas- 
ure up to his predecessors as a genus Big Shot. He had 
not their arrogant self-confidence, their frank criminal- 
ity, their knack of political bigwiggery. He was a lurker 
in the shadows, secretive, furtive, seldom seen, masking 
his activities, steering shy of the cops and the public gen- 
erally. Withal, he was typical of the class that has cap- 
italized its talents through prohibition. His record: 

Sent to the penitentiary for robbery September 17, 
1910, under the name of George Miller; paroled June 
18,1912. 

Sent to the penitentiary from McLean County Octo- 
ber 3, 1913, for burglary and larceny. 

Forfeited bonds in a robbery case December 19, 
1917; case subsequently stricken off by the court. 

Sent to the penitentiary for robbery May 24, 1918; 
paroled February 1, 1923. 

A roll-call of his buzzards' nest would have discovered 
Willie Marks, his bodyguard and second in command; 
Ted Newberry, his whiskey peddler; the Gusenberg 
brothers, Frank and Pete — Frank, burglar, robber 
and stick-up; Pete, who had served in Leavenworth for 
the Polk Street station $400,000 mail robbery; John 
May, safe-blower and the father of seven children; Al- 
bert R. Weinshank, speakeasy proprietor; James Clark, 
brother-in-law of Moran, bank robber suspect and crack 
rifle and pistol shot; Adam Heyer of the three aliases, 
owner of the S. M. C. Cartage Company at 2122 North 

246 



AL CAPONE 

Clark Street, the gang's booze depot, where it also kept 
its trucks and cars; Dr. Reinhardt H. Schwimmer, a 
young optometrist, just starting to "play around" with 
gangsters, who lived at the Parkway Hotel, 2 100 Lincoln 
Park West, a hotel referred to by the society editors as 
"fashionable," where the O'Banion crowd strutted un- 
der assumed names and assumed respectability. 

Unfinished business. Uale's men had bumped off Lom- 
bardo, but the Morans had got Lolordo. "They were not 
Italians," Mrs. Lolordo had cried. The pipe-line word 
was that the killers were the Gusenbergs and Clark, 
who had established friendly relations with Lolordo by 
consenting to let him operate a still in their territory 
for a stipulated amount — $1,500 down and $500 a 
month ; that on the day of the murder they had visited 
him on pretense of collecting the initial payment. Lo- 
lordo had drawn $1,500 from the bank in the morning 
while in the Loop with Mrs. Lolordo. 

Unfinished business. While Capone was in Florida, 
superintending a new dog-track venture, the Morans 
and Aiellos had horned in on the alky-cooking, beer, 
and booze game in one of the richest areas of his domain 
— the Twentieth Ward. The pipe-line word was that 
they had also hijacked a dozen trucks that the Purple 
outfit in Detroit was running into Chicago for Capone. 
Incidentally, in the Twentieth Ward, an alder manic 
fight was raging, with the Capones supporting State 
Representative William V. Pacelli, who had entered the 
race at the behest of City Sealer Daniel A. Serritella. 

The gangster was emerging as an entity in the city's 
economic life. Rule by the gun and the bomb was being 
extended from bootlegging into legitimate business, 

247 



/ 



AL CAPONE 

and into the affairs of the workingman and the budget 
of the home. It was to result in much bloodshed. 

George Red Barker, pal of the West Side O'Donnells, 
ex-convict, twice paroled, who already had throttled the 
garage industry, was to seize control of the Coal Team- 
sters, Chauffeurs and Helpers Union, after shooting 
James Lefty Lynch, its business agent. During the 
Christmas holidays of 1929 he threatened to call a strike 
of Local No. 704, which delivers fuel to the downtown 
district, if a pay increase were not granted by the deal- 
ers. Every skyscraper, office building, bank, hotel, shop, 
store, and theater in the Loop would have been affected. 
The dealers capitulated. 

William Three-Fingered Jack White, safe-blower, 
once sentenced to life imprisonment for killing a police- 
man, was to run the Coal Hikers Union, Jack McGurn 
the Bill Posters and Billers Union. Three hoodlums, 
headed by Dickey Quan, were to try to extort $10,000 
from M. J. Powers, president of the Tire and Rubber 
Workers Union, as the price of his retention of his office 
— and good health; and — Powers notified the police, 
they were to shoot it out with them, killing all three. 

It was a situation that was to prompt the statement 
by Col. Robert Isham Randolph, president of the Chi- 
cago Association of Commerce, in February of 1930, 
after a member of the association had been shot while 
directing a construction job on the University of Chi- 
cago campus: 

"There is not a business, not an industry, in Chicago, 
that is not paying tribute directly or indirectly to rack- 
eteers and gangsters." 

In the same month of that year, former Chief of Po- 

248 



AL CAPONE 

lice Morgan A. Collins, and a member of the department 
for thirty-seven years, was to appear before the House 
judiciary committee at Washington, in its prohibition 
hearing, and say: 

"The men who took money from bootleggers for over- 
looking violations of the Volstead Act were incapacitated 
from arresting them for any other crime. They had to 
stand for murder, robbery and many other crimes." 

Since 1928, Collins had been traveling about the 
United States, studying conditions, and "conditions in 
Chicago are only typical of those throughout the coun- 
try." 

The Morans, like Capone, had entered the $35,000,- 
000-a-year clothes-cleaning industry, and the causes 
leading thereto provide something of an explanatory 
picture of the development of racketeering. 

Originally, the industry was a monopoly run by the 
Master Cleaners and Dyers Association, which owned 
all the cleaning and dyeing plants. It functioned in con- 
junction with two subsidiaries, the Retail Cleaners and 
Dyers Union, and the Laundry and Dyehouse Chauf- 
feurs Union. The founder and secretary-treasurer of the 
latter was John G. Clay, who in seventeen years had seen 
it grow from a handful of men to the strongest union 
in the city, with a treasury fund — for defense purposes 
and strikes— of $300,000. 

In between the Masters and the unions were the small 
shopkeepers or tailoring establishments, helpless, forced 
through intimidation to accept the dictates of the Mas- 
ters. These finally boosted prices so outrageously high 
that the public instituted a tacit boycott, giving what 
work could not be done at home to independents in the 

249 



AL CAPONE 

suburbs. The chief sufferers from the sharp decline in 
business were the small shopkeepers. They had to pay 
inside help and drivers the same wages, and contribute 
the same subsidy to the Masters. Conditions were un- 
bearable. The result was a revolt. 

One hundred shopkeepers on the North and North- 
west sides withdrew from the monopoly and organized 
an independent cooperative plant under the name of 
the Central Cleaning Company , with one Ben Kornick 
as president. But the Masters had their gunmen, slug- 
gers, and bombers, and to protect themselves, Kornick 
and his associates hired Moran at $1,800 a week, as 
Morris Becker, fighting the Masters on the South Side, 
had retained the services of Capone. It will be obvious 
to the reader that this is an instance where greed cre- 
ated a so-called racketeering situation. 

Becker never had occasion to regret his move. Not so 
Kornick. He was dealing with a different kind of fel- 
low. Willie Marks and James Clark were installed as 
vice presidents of his concern. Within six weeks Kor- 
nick was convinced that the Morans were trying to mus- 
cle him out. 

He was in a dilemma. He faced the prospect of being 
hoist by his own petard, as it were. He and his asso- 
ciates decided that the only way to rid themselves of 
the Morans was to reaffiliate with the Masters. But to 
do that they would have to unionize their help. The man 
to see, then, was John G. Clay, who had a reputation for 
honesty and square dealing. 

The Morans learned of Kornick's intention. They 
did not propose to be ousted. They had larger ideas by 
now. Willie Marks hastened to see Clay; he told him 

250 



AL CAPONE 

he could unionize the Central company's drivers. Clay 
asked him to show his authority from the company — 
meaning from Kornick — to negotiate and sign an agree- 
ment. Marks had none. Clay refused to talk to him. The 
Morans tried to bully him. They couldn't. What they 
were aiming at was to get into his good graces, then mus- 
cle him out as they were doing with Kornick, and seize 
his drivers' union and its $300,000 treasury. 

Big Tim Murphy had tried to do that and had died. 
Clay, fifty-nine years old, a veteran of the labor game, 
was wise to the Morans before they started. He gave 
Willie Marks the air and went about his business. 

The third Thursday of each month the stewards met 
at Clay's union headquarters, 629 South Ashland Ave- 
nue, a remodeled residence. Clay's desk was in the 
front room. He was sitting at it the night of November 
16, 1928. Two men stepped from an automobile and 
walked up the short flight of steps to the stone landing, 
One fired a revolver, the other a sawed-off double- 
barreled shotgun, through the window. Clay fell dead, 
with six bullets and two charges of slugs in his head 
and body. The men escaped. The Morans did not muscle 
in on Clay's union. Organized labor was so enraged that 
the gang "went in a hole" for a while. But later it 
ousted Kornick as president of the Central Cleaning 
Company, and installed in his stead Albert R. Wein- 
shank. 

All of which was more Unfinished Business — in a new 
quarter, where, for once, the police couldn't laugh it 
off by pointing a smug finger at Capone. 

Moran maintained headquarters at Heyer's garage, 
2122 North Clark Street. Late on Wednesday evening, 

251 



AL CAPONE 

February 13, 1929, he received a telephone call, inform- 
ing him that a truckload of liquor, "right off the river," 
en route from Detroit to Chicago, had been hijacked, 
and could be had at a reasonable figure; that the hi- 
jacker was giving him "the break" on it. Evidently 
Moran knew his man and trusted him, because he wasted 
no words in palaver. 

"How much?" he asked. 

"Fifty-seven dollars the case." 

"Okey; deliver it to the garage." 

"When?" 

"By ten-thirty tomorrow morning. All the boys will be 
here; we're short and they'll want a cut." 

It was a ruse. How many bargain cargoes the pre- 
tended hijacker had delivered to Moran to worm his way 
into his confidence, to outsmart him at his own stuff; 
how long he and his co-conspirators had bided the op- 
portune moment; how often they had drilled and re- 
hearsed to perfect themselves in the roles for the five 
minutes' use they were to make of it — all this only 
they will ever know. 

The forces that in the spring primary campaign of 
1928 had risen to flout authority — to cow a mayor, his 
cabinet, and his chief of police — to dragoon and slay 
at the polls — to bomb Swanson into the State's attorney- 
ship — were rising to smite again, this time with a sav- 
agery that was to faze even the gorillas of gangland. 

A light snow was falling the morning of St. Valen- 
tine's Day, the thermometer registering 18 above zero, 
with a westerly wind nipping ears and noses. Spindrifts 
of clouds intermittently veiled the sun. Pedestrian and 
motor traffic was at its minimum for the year. 

252 



AL CAP 



E 



In Clark Street, though, the 
even in midwinter. It is a t 
transportation, and its nine 
the Loop to the city limits 
restaurants, pharmacies, movi 
secondary hotels, corner cig 
etc. Its life is an unending 
succession of neighborhood 
ous Main Street^— and\mst 
Chicago. The red men tro 
when State and Madison 
coach to Milwaukee r ~ 
the swamp by the lake 
It grew with the city. It 
criminate; plain, friendl 
simplicity of the prairie si 

In the twenty-one-hu 
stranger would have noted 1 
humdrum of existence w 
Sam Schneider, the tailor, \ 



hardly ever a lull, 

tery of surface-car 

n^iles, north from 

with groceries, 

theater^ garages, flats, 

stands, banks, stores, 

nd clatter. It is a 

Unities — a continu- 

genesis antedates 

Green Bay Trail 

ndspit. The stage- 

t in the thirties when 

d four thousand souls. 

tory, sprawling, indis- 

ssuming. The rugged 

upon it. 

ed block on this day, a 
hing unusual. The peaceful 
onotonous in its sameness, 
nd his wife were pressing 



it»2124, next door north of 
►n the first floor of a three- 
led for rooming and light 
Mrs. Jeanette Landesman, 
making the beds. Directly 
lived Mrs. Alphonsine Morin, 



and sewing in their sho 
Heyer's garage. Sam wa 
story flat building, rem 
housekeeping. The^nd 
was sweeping, dusti 
across the street, at 2 1 
who also kept roomers 

They entertained no/sii^jMcions regarding the squat 
brick structure with / the^ ^uninteresting name — the 
S.M.C. Cartage Company4-v?tedged in so inconspicu- 
ously between its taller neighbors. They accepted it at 
its face value: It wa/ another furn\ture moving concern. 

253 



AL CAPONE 

The garage, one story in height, was forty feet wide 
and one hundred and fifty feet long. Although it fronted 
on Clark, its vehicular entrance was in the rear, on the 
alley. The front was so contrived as to conceal the 
interior. It had a large plate-glass window, but the 
passerby could see no farther than an office partition. 
A door opened into the garage beyond the window. En- 
tering it, one passed for twenty feet through a narrow 
passageway, formed by the end of the office partition 
and the north wall of the garage. 

Seated in chairs in the northwest, or alley, corner at 
10:30 o'clock on St. Valentine's morning were the 
Gusenbergs, Frank and Pete; John May, the safe- 
blower; Al Weinshank, the speakeasy proprietor; James 
Clark, bank robber suspect; Adam Heyer of the three 
aliases; and young Dr. Schwimmer, the optometrist; 
each a gangster model of upkeep and dress — shave, hair 
trim, manicure; the silk shirt, the flashy tie; here and 
there, a diamond stick-pin and ring; in Dr. Schwim- 
mer 's case a carnation boutonniere; fedoras with brims 
slanted down over the right eyes; spats; tailored suits 
and overcoats; each with the customary roll — Heyer, 
$1,135; Weinshank, $1,250; May, $1,200, and so on; 
each armed. 

They were waiting for George Bugs Moran, Willie 
Marks, and Ted Newberry, who were late. The load of 
hijacked liquor should be along any moment, too. 
Heyer's police dog would growl the alarm when it drove 
up. He was chained to one of the seven trucks in the 
garage. It was going to be a busy day for the Morans. 
At noon, led by the Gusenbergs, and joined by the 
Aiellos, they were to start for Detroit, on the biggest 

254 



AL CAPONE 

rum-running expedition they had undertaken since 
Capone went away. They were to utilize^q&^esjen trucks 
and three automobiles, which, f res$^ilem£reased, and 
gassed, were ready for George Bu^sMLe^J go." 

Lucky George Bugs! He and Ma)jks\ind Newberry, 
coming south on Clark Street, towarkjjie garage, had 
seen a Cadillac touring ca^-Wn^-eur^ains drawn — such 
as the detective burea^ squads use— Wop at the curb, 
two doors north of the garage; had sepn five men alight 
— three in police uniforms, twsun civilian clothes — and 
walk to the door and enter. "Coppers," they figured, 
and decided to ke^Tstrolling around till "the heat" was 
off. The decisionxsavetf/fli&r* lives. The reader may 
judge from this in^Jdk, h|therto unpublished, how 
close the Moran gang massacre came to being a ten- 
man instead of a sev>n-mari affair. 

Sam Schneider, in smrtsleeves, spectacles low on his 
nose, beads of perspiraqon on his honest brow, was 
pushing his gas iron 
when his wife exclai 

"What's that?" 

Sam set the iro 
thought it a truck ft 
for that, too insist 



id down a pair of trousers 



its holder. He had heard it, 
firing — but it was too sustained 
rhythmical, a steady metallic 
rat-a-tat-^j^longe^lonly for seconds, then two heavy 
detonations, wfilth^came to them through the brick 
walls depdened, as wften^ dynamite is exploded under- 
ground. They ran to the window and saw the Cadillac 
touring cat^^^/ ^ Sv ^lN 
"A police raid, I guess," said Sam. 
The sharper women's ears of Mrs. Landesman and 
Mrs. Morin had heard the noises. They were more 

255 



AL CAPONE 

curious. Keeping watch at a third-floor window, Mrs. 
Morin saw: 

"Two men coming out of the garage, with their hands 
high above their heads. Behind them were three other 
men in what looked like police uniforms. They had guns 
on the first two men. They were walking slow, easy-like. 
I thought an arrest had been made. I watched them get 
into the squad car." 

Mrs. Landesman reached a window in time to see the 
Cadillac driving south on Clark Street. She ran down- 
stairs and tried to open the front door. It was jammed. 
Then: 

"I called to C. L. McAllister, a roomer. He tried the 
door, and when it still stuck, he forced it open. He went 
out and into the garage. He came running back and said 
the place was full of dead men. I called the police." 

He saw seven men lying on the concrete floor, with 
their faces upturned as they had fallen backward from 
the brick wall against which they were executed. They 
had died with their slant-brimmed fedoras on. Heyer'i 
police dog lunged and howled under its beer truck. In 
his excitement McAllister failed to notice that one of 
the men was squirming — desperately mustering his 
strength in a last dying effort to evade the hated coppers, 
who would soon be there. He was Frank Gusenberg. 
Sergeant Thomas Loftus of the Hudson Avenue sta- 
tion, arriving fifteen minutes later, had him taken to 
the Alexian Brothers' Hospital. Sergeant Clarence 
Sweeney was detailed at his bedside. 

"Who shot you, Frank?" he asked him. 

"No one — nobody shot me," he whispered. He was 
too far gone to talk out loud. 

256 



AL CAPONE 

Frank could have spilled a lot. He and Pete were 
along the afternoon Capone's Cicero abode was bom- 
barded, and the evening McGurn was shot while in a 
cigar-store 'phone booth of the McCormick Hotel; they 
had toasted the health of Pasqualino Lolordo with eight- 
een bullets ; the police had questioned them in the John 
Clay killing. 

" Which gang was it?" asked the sergeant. 

No answer. 

"Want a preacher, Frank?" 

Getting weaker now. The lips twitched, but Sweeney 
had to bend over to catch the reply. It was, "No." 

He died at 1:30 p. m., the gangster way, unshriven, 
not squawking. 

If the Lolordo murder was sophistication of method, 
the Moran job was precision engineering. The five as- 
sassins might have been robots, wound up and syn- 
chronized, every movement clicking concurrently and 
reciprocally. As reconstructed from examination of the 
scene, and from piecing together the stories of the 
Schneiders, Mrs. Landesman, Mrs. Morin, and others, 
it was evident that the two or three men (the number 
has never been definitely established) in police uni- 
forms first entered the garage. They were officers; they 
had orders to search everybody, to question the inmates. 
This was no new experience for the Morans; they were 
used to it. The official version read: 

"Two of the crew were in police uniforms and the 
; seven victims, thinking it was only another routine raid 
— with perhaps an arrest — and a quick release on bonds 
— readily yielded to disarming and obeying the com- 
mand to stand in a row, fifty feet from the Clark Street 

257 



AL CAPONE 

door, facing the north wall. It was a clever trick. Other- 
wise, the Morans would have sold their lives dearly." 

The whole success of the plot, then, devolved on the 
men in uniforms, who performed faultlessly. While they 
did, the real executioners, in civilian clothes, remained 
in the passageway. One carried a Thompson sub- 
machine gun, with a drum of one hundred .45 caliber 
cartridges; the other a twelve gauge, double-barreled, 
sawed-off shotgun. Coming from the car to the garage, 
these had been concealed under their overcoats. 

As soon as the Morans had been disarmed and stood 
up against the wall, the machine gunner stepped forth. 
East to west, his victims were Schwimmer, May, Clark, 
Heyer, Weinshank, Pete and Frank Gusenberg. Pre- 
sumably the gun was adjusted for rapid fire. If so, the 
job was completed in ten seconds. 

The executioner was cool and expert. The post- 
mortem showed that the line of fire had not deviated; 
that it had been accurately sprayed "between the ears 
and thighs; all were wounded in the head and vital 
organs." The shotgun was another indication of the as- 
sassins' thoroughness. It was for emergencies, to finish 
off. Apparently Clark and May were considered tough 
to kill, for they received its two charges of buckshot. 
These were the sounds that came through the brick walls 
to Schneider and his wife. 

Having done their work, the assassins again had 
recourse to the police camouflage to accomplish their 
getaway. Its purpose was to allay suspicion and the 
reader has seen how successful it was ; how the two men 
in civilian clothes marched out of the garage with hands 

258 



AL CAPONE 

in air, their uniformed companions behind them with 
guns drawn; how they walked, "not too fast," to the 
pseudo-squad-car, climbed in and were gone. 

On that same St. Valentine's Day, three murderers, 
sentenced to die in the electric chair, were getting re- 
prieves, due to petitions filed by their attorneys for re- 
views of their cases by the State supreme court. Two 
of them had shot down a policeman, Arthur Esau, when 
he walked into a drugstore they were robbing. 

Clues developed slowly in the massacre case. Nearly 
three weeks elapsed before the authorities, on March 
4th, named three men as having actually participated 
in it. They were Joseph Lolordo, brother of Pasqualino, 
Fred Burke, and James Ray, these two of Egan's Rats, 
St. Louis. 

Burke was, and is, a much-wanted man, a fugitive 
from justice since April of 1925. His specialty is rob- 
bing banks, and for that he is wanted in Kentucky, 
Indiana, and Wisconsin. Ohio wants him for killing a 
policeman, and the United States Government for a 
national-bank robbery. Ray was said to have been his 
confederate in a holdup at Jefferson, Wisconsin, in 
which bonds worth $350,000 were taken. 

The plot called for men unknown to the Morans to 
pose as policemen, and Burke and Ray were chosen for 
the roles. Assistant State's Attorney David Stans- 
bury further announced that Jack McGurn had paid 
them $10,000 each for their services. Another Capone 
henchman, Jack Guzik, as telephone records subpoenaed 
from the Congress Hotel showed, had been holding 
daily long-distance conversations with Capone at his 

259 



AL CAPONE 

Florida villa up to within three days of the massacre. 
Then they had ceased, to be resumed again February 
18th. 

Joseph Lolordo had been in the army with a machine- 
gun detachment. He knew his typewriters and ukelele 
music. He was rated "a natural" with a Thompson sub- 
machine gun. He was eager to avenge his brother's death. 
To Joe, therefore, went the trigger honors. Albert An- 
selmi was also suspected of having had a hand in it, ac- 
cording to the announcement from the State's attorney's 
office, but the evidence against him was not strong 
enough to warrant an arrest. John Scalise was involved, 
and witnesses had identified him. 

Lolordo had disappeared. McGurn and Scalise, al- 
ready in custody, were indicted on seven charges of 
first-degree murder, their bonds being put at $50,000 
each. These were duly forthcoming and they were re- 
leased. McGurn's surety was hotel property at Sixty- 
fourth Street and Cottage Grove Avenue, on the South 
Side, valued at $1,300,000, scheduled by Harold C. 
Hayes, proprietor of the Metropole, Capone's G.H.Q. 
in Michigan Avenue. 

Gangland justice unexpectedly disposed of Scalise, 
which left McGurn to face the charges alone, and un- 
dergo a series of queer adventures with the law. The 
four-term statute in Illinois provides that if a defendant 
demands trial at four terms of court and the State is 
not prepared to prosecute, the State must enter a nolle 
prosequi. 

McGurn appeared for trial May 28th. The State re- 
quested a continuance to July 8th. McGurn appeared 
again on that date, his attorneys demanding immediate 

260 



AL CAPONE 

trial, but the State asked and received another con- 
tinuance, to August 15th. The State was still not ready 
then, and once more the case was continued, to Septem- 
ber 23d, when McGurn's attorneys made their fourth 
demand for trial. But Assistant State's Attorney Harry 
S. Ditchburne informed the court. 

"The State must ask for another continuance. We are 
still investigating." 

McGurn's next appearance was October 28th. 

"The State is not ready to go to trial," said Mr. Ditch- 
burne. "We desire another continuance." 

"The indictment was voted last March," interposed 
James McDermott of counsel for McGurn. "We have 
made repeated demands for trial of this case." 

"If you haven't the evidence," tartly remarked Judge 
George Fred Rush to Mr. Ditchburne, "you should not 
take advantage simply because this happens to be a 
notorious case." 

He granted a continuance, however, to December 2d, 
with the stipulation: 

"The State must be prepared to go to trial on that 
date. If it is not I will discharge the defendant." 

On December 2d, Mr. Ditchburne advised the court: 

"We are forced at this time to nolle prosse the case 
against McGurn." 

Jack went free. So far as prosecution goes, his adven- 
tures represent the sole accomplishment to date by the 
authorities in the matter of the Moran gang massacre. 

The case has another phase, which challenges interest 
and speculation in the future of crime detection. It in- 
troduces the exact methods of science — forensic ballis- 
tics and the microscope — the fingerprinting, one might 

261 



AL CAPONE 

say, of shells and bullets, and the identification of fire- 
arms. Every gun has individual peculiarities — the 
grooves and lands of the bore, which put distinctive 
striations on the bullets; and the breech block and fir- 
ing pin, which imprint their telltale hieroglyphics on 
the shells and primers. No two guns produce the same 
markings. 

Already, in his laboratory, Colonel Calvin C. God- 
dard, formerly of New York City, has supplied a thrill- 
ing sequel to the Uale killing and the massacre. The 
long arm of coincidence helped him. "Stranger than fic- 
tion," one is tempted to write. 

In the little city of St. Joe, Michigan, one hundred 
miles around the lake from Chicago, on the afternoon 
of Saturday, December 14, 1929, a traffic dispute oc- 
curred. One motorist had hit another. Patrolman Charles 
Ckelly, asked to intercede, approached the offending 
motorist with a request that he accompany him to the 
station to file a report. The man drew a gun and shot 
Skelly dead, then sped away. The car's license number 
had been copied. It was traced to one Fred Dane, a 
resident of St. Joe for six months. He was buying a home 
there. The St. Joe police hurriedly visited it. He was 
gone, but a search disclosed numerous revolvers, two 
Thompson sub-machine guns, a case of ammunition — 
and a library of dime-novel police tales. Dane was Fred 
Burke, under cover in a hideout. The car he was driv- 
ing, and which he wrecked and abandoned in his flight, 
had been bought in Cicero. 

Colonel Goddard had previously studied and indexed 
the massacre shells and bullets. Burke's machine guns 
were turned over to him, and after conducting firing 

262 









AL CAPONE 

tests, he reported that one of them was the weapon with 
which the Morans were executed. Within three weeks, 
following studies of bullets extracted from the body of 
Uale, he identified the same weapon as having been 
used in his assassination. 

In Colonel Goddard's quietly consummated labors, 
the drama of the laboratory is presented. A man is 
killed in a residential street of Brooklyn in July of 
1928. A thousand miles away, in an obscure Chicago 
garage, seven men are killed, months later. Well nigh 
a year passes, and a motorist shoots a patrolman. The 
keenest lay mind could not connect the three occur- 
rences on the known facts. The scientist, peering through 
his microscope, reading the hieroglyphics of the shells 
and bullets, correlates them and says, "This happened; 
that is so." The foundation is laid for police work that 
may yet result in a complete solution of the Uale and 
Moran gang cases. 

Some day the Chicago Historical Society may be 
minded to erect a tablet at 2122 North Clark Street, 
and posterity will read: 

"Here Ended the Bootleg Battle of the Marne." 

And how! 

George Bugs, last of the O'Banions, was a leader 
without a gang. 

General Al the Scarface had won the war to make the 
world safe for public demand — in and around Chicago. 



263 



PART SIX 

INTERLUDE: 
Momentarily, Tony Steger's clumping feet were 
idle, and his strident basso profundo stilled. Which was 
to say that momentarily the flow of the night's news had 
ceased. 

A man of parts in the local room drama, Tony's stel- 
lar role is that of engineer of a funny little oblong con- 
traption on the starboard side the city desk. It has 24 
red and black levers and 24 pea-sized red bulbs. A bell 
rings; a bulb glows; Tony shifts a lever, says, "Hello," 
and listens. 

It may be a stickup, a murder; Dr. Stork with twins 
or triplets; an elopement, a divorce, a golden wedding 
anniversary; another nameless floater in the river; the 
obituary of a prominent citizen ; a 13 suit hand in bridge ; 
the last bird in Chicago wearing a straw katy in the fall, 
or the first robin of spring in Oak Park. Whatever it is, 
Tony listens, and then his basso profundo booms above 
the chattering telegraph keys, the fretting typewriters 
of earnest fingered reporters, and the infernal popping 
brass tube delivering its pouches from the City News 
Bureau: 

"A story on five, Fitz." 

The item has landed with the rewrite, and the situa- 
tion is well in hand. 

Tony is the ear of the local room. He is successor to 
264 



AL CAPONE 

that late James Aloysius Durkin, world's greatest 
office boy of the world's greatest newspaper. Durkin, in 
shirtsleeves, the twinkle in his blue Irish eyes un- 
dimmed, gazes serenely down upon Tony from the east 
wall — a Tribune tradition, now — just as when he used 
to crack his gum, catch the number ticked off by the 
fire alarm buzzer, maintain a telephone conversation, 
and handle a piece of copy — all at one and the same 
time. 

The hour was 11 p.m. The deadline was nearing. 
Soon editors and copy readers would rise en masse to 
start the march downstairs to the composing room to 
put the paper to bed for the home edition. Soon the 
clicking of more than 60 linotypes would give way to 
the roar of the mighty Goss presses, and in circulation 
alley the waiting trucks would begin receiving their con- 
signments of 800,000 newspapers. 

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle had died. The cables from 
England, as well as press wires about the United States, 
had been glutted with tales of seances, astral contacts, 
psychic manifestations, communications from the spirit 
world — even messages from Sir Arthur. Perhaps these 
had had their effect upon Tony. Perhaps the unseen, un- 
fathomable forces of the universe were exerting their 
spell upon him. He ended a pensive silence with: 

"It's about time for Jake to call." 

Three weeks had passed since the morning of June 10, 
1930, when the Tribune, under an eight column banner 
line, had carried a story: 

Alfred J. Lingle, better known in his world of newspaper 
work as Jake Lingle, and for the last 18 years a reporter on the 
Tribune, was shot to death yesterday in the Illinois Central 

265 



AL CAPONE 

subway at the east side of Michigan boulevard, at Randolph 
street. 

The Tribune offers $25,000 as a reward for information 
which will lead to the conviction of the slayer or slayers. 

An additional reward of $5,000 was announced by the 
Chicago Evening Post, making a total of $30,000. 

(The next day the Chicago Herald & Examiner, Hearst 
morning paper, also offered a $25,000 reward, bringing the 
total up to $55,000.) 

An organized gang planned and executed the murder of 
Lingle, and at least six gunmen of the band are believed to 
have been nearby at 1:25 o'clock' yesterday afternoon when 
one of them crept behind t the newspaperman, lifted a stubby 
.38 caliber revolver, and fired a single shot through the back of 
his head. Lingle was killed instantly. 

Tony nodded at Eddie Johnson, boss of the night 
cameramen: 

"He'd call in and ask, 'Anything doin', Tony?' " 

"Say," from Eddie, "I met Paddy Walsh at the wake. 
Jake was best man at his wedding. He and Jake went 
to Niagara Falls once on an $8 excursion — that was 
years ago before Jake was married. They were ready 
to return. Paddy had $2 and Jake had $2. Jake spent 
$1.50 for a pennant for his girl — the one he finally mar- 
ried — the only one he ever went with. Paddy held out 
on Jake. He put a dollar of his two in his shoe, and told 
Jake he only had one. So Jake had to get by on fifty 
cents. Paddy remembered it at the wake. It bothered 
him. . . . God, Jake was a big hearted guy." 

A fellow newspaperman's wife had died — a news- 
paperman whose work is notable for diligence and con- 
scientiousness — but whose salary was inadequate to 

266 






AL CAPONE 



defray both hospital and funeral e: 
recalled how Jake had forced $300 o: 

"There was a south side policem 
who had killed eight holdup men 
reporter. "I told Jake about it, 
sioner of police) caljec^ Reynol 
him a sergeant." 

The talk rambled 
Tony's saying: 

"It's about time for\ Jake to 

Only in fictional 
some such imaginative 
or an Ambrose Bierce 
alive be maintaine 
months have passed, I have fr< 
fancying that Lingle is out the 
last and biggest, his suprem 
himself — counter to himself- 
*vith a gangster b 
nation to the menace 
tion. 

Who was Lingle? A p 
a week man, posthumous 
income of $60,000 a year; 
the price of beer" in Chic 
official Chief of Police"; 
a chauffeur; plunged o: 



;nses. Somebody 



urn. 



ed Reynolds, 

spo& up a police 

Rus^l (commis- 

right in\Vid made 

t rid my mind of 



ourse, and through 

n Edgar Allan Poe 

erne of Lingle still 

and weeks and 

surprised myself 

somewhere busy on his 

signment; busy despite 

is city editor, destiny — 

g a community and a 

rchy to urban civiliza- 



races: lived at the best, 



an $18,000 summer 
Long Beach, India 
with the governor of Illinois, the 

267 



ecimen of the era. A $65 

ealed as having had an 

admitted he had "fixed 

was labeled the "Un- 

ove a Lincoln car, with 

ck market and on the 

ed, or was buying, 

ichigan Riviera, at 

hobnobbed with millionaires; 

ttorney general of 



AL CAPONE 

the State; with judges and county and city officials; 
golfed and vacationed with the commissioner of police, 
and speculated with him — and wore, even as Esposito 
and Uale, what has come to be regarded as the gangster 
emblem, a diamond studded belt buckle given to him 
by Capone : 

cl A Christmas present," said AL "Jake was a dear 
friend of mine." 

His education was limited to an elementary public 
school, the Calhoun, at 2850 West Jackson Boulevard. 
His post-graduate course was vacant lot baseball; 
thence, a semi-professional team. His first job was as 
office boy in a surgical supply house. He quit there to 
go to the Tribune in the same capacity in 1912. He was 
a typical product of the sidewalks of Chicago. He had 
no inclination for books or the thing called culture. They 
comprised an alien world to him. He was engrossed in 
the knockabout life of the streets. He never wrote a 
line for his paper. He never tried to write a line. He had 
no inclination for it. 

In that early knockabout life of the streets, an in- 
cident occurred that was to shape his career. Quoting 
again from the Tribune story of June 10: 

Twenty years ago, when Jake was a stripling, he met Bill 
Russell, a patrolman, traveling a beat in uniform. Jake was 
playing semi-professional baseball with William Niesen's 
team. He and the patrolman took a liking to each other, and 
together they would patrol Russell's beat, talking the while. 
. . . . So Lingle came to know the glamour of police work. 

With Russell he learned to develop an easy attitude toward 
policemen and police characters, and in later years, this pen- 

268 



AL CAPONE 

chant developed, until he came to know their life and haunts as 
few men outside those worlds have ever known them. 

When his friend Russell began to climb toward higher 
posts in the police department, Lingle continued and ripened 
their friendship. First, a sergeantcy, then a lieutenancy, then 
a captaincy, and then a deputy commissionership. Lingle 
shared with his friend the pleasure the promotions gave, and 
when at last Russell was appointed commissioner, Lingle 
gloried, not with any hope of sharing in the power of the office, 
but solely with the personal zeal with which he had followed 
his friend's rise. 

When the commissioner was ailing, it was always Lingle 
who came to offer him cheerful solace. They played golf to- 
gether, and went about to the theaters and to visit mutual 
friends. 

I first met Lingle in 1918. 1 was a rewrite man on the 
Tribune. He was a police reporter. He had been with the 
paper six years. Occasionally I would be sent out on 
stories with him. Generally, our objective would be a 
police station. If it wasn't, and there was one anywhere 
in the neighborhood, Jake would suggest we drop in 
for a visit. I used to enjoy the experience. I was new 
to Chicago — I had been here only three years — and these 
expeditions afforded me opportunity for observation. 

Wherever the station — north, west or south — Lingle 
would know patrolmen, sergeants, lieutenants and cap- 
tains. It was obvious to me that he not only was pop- 
ular with them, but that he had their confidence. The 
greeting invariably would be: 

"Hello, Jake." 

And: 

269 



AL CAPONE 

"Hello, Mike," or Sam, John, Bill, Jack; Tom, Dick 
or Harry. 

Lingle's right hand would go up to the left breast 
pocket of his coat for a cigar. There was a cigar for 
every greeting. I never knew him to meet the newest 
rookie policeman that he didn't tender a cigar. They 
were a two-for-a nickel brand and Lingle smoked them 
himself then. 

He knew all the coppers by their first names. He spent 
his spare time among them. He played penny-ante with 
them. He went to their wakes and funerals; their wed- 
dings and christenings. They were his heroes. A lawyer 
explained him: 

"As a kid he was cop struck, as another kid might be 
stage struck." 

The police station was his prep school and college. 
He matured, and his point of view developed, in the 
stodgy, fetid atmosphere of the cell block and the squad 
room. Chicago's 41 police stations are vile places, con- 
sidered either aesthetically or hygienically. I doubt if a 
modern farmer would use the majority of them for cow 
sheds. Yet the civic patriots put their fledgling blue- 
coats in them, and expect them to preserve their self- 
respect and departmental morale. 

In this prep school-college, Lingle learned a great 
deal the ordinary citizen may, or may not, suspect. He 
learned that sergeants, lieutenants and captains know 
every handbook, every gambling den, every dive, every 
beer flat and saloon in their districts — that that is part 
of the routine — that not to know them is to admit in- 
competency — that a word from the captain, when "the 
heat is on," will close any district tighter than a Scotch- 

270 



AL CAPONE 

man's pocket in five minutes. He learned that they 
know which joint owners have "a friend in the hall or 
county," and which haven't. Few haven't. He learned 
that the Chicago police department is politics ridden ;, 
that the average chief is a stuffed shirt. 

In ratio as his intimacy with members of the de- 
partment deepened, his acquaintance broadened in 
that nether stratum of society, the underworld. He 
learned that it, too, is caste conscious, with rigid social 
and professional distinctions. The best jackroller is 
beneath the contempt of a pickpocket. A pickpocket 
is only to be tolerated by a successful stickup man. 
No safecracker would be seen in the company of a 
porch climber. He learned that some criminals have 
drag and quick habeas corpus service — the big deal- 
ers; that some have no drag and can be tossed in 
the can with impunity; these are the punks. He 
learned to despise the punks. He learned to talk the 
argot. A $5 bill was a fin; a $10 bill, a sawbuck; and, 
later, a $100 bill was a C; a $1,000 bill a gran'; a 
holdup or a hijacking was a h'ist; a man shadowed 
was tailed or cased; a hoodlum was a hood, the oo 
pronounced as in fool; a pretty woman was a swell 
broad; an indictment or complaint was a rap; a re- 
volver was a heater; a policeman was The Law; 
victuals were groceries; one who talked too freely 
was a squawker; if a criminal confessed, he sang. 
These are but random selections from the vocabulary 
of the new Americanese that would cause Noah Web- 
ster to play leapfrog in his grave. 

An occurrence of which I have personal knowledge 
will illustrate how thoroughly Lingle knew his under- 

271 



AL CAPONE 

world. He was escorting his fiancee home. They had 
boarded a crowded street car. A seemingly accidental 
jostling caused Lingle to feel in his right hip pocket, 
where he carried his wallet. It was gone. He scanned 
the passengers, recognizing a face. Saying nothing to 
the girl, he continued on to her home. After leaving her 
he hurried to a bar and poolroom in West Madison 
Street. There, as he knew he would be, was the pick- 
pocket. Lingle demanded his wallet back and got it. 
He never wrote a line, but in his casual manner he 
could give a Bertillon of any criminal in the country, 
and rattle off inside information on the toughest cases 
— whether murders, bank robberies or big time confi- 
dence games. I refer particularly here to the Lingle I 
knew in 1918. 

The police environment stamps a man with defi- 
nite characteristics. His working hours are spent with 
the mentally deficient, the so-called scum of the city, 
and he has contact with graft and corruption. His 
sensibilities harden; his sympathies diminish; his 
judgment warps. Toward his clientele he is apt to as- 
sume a domineering, superior attitude, and a sneering 
cynicism. I never detected any traces of a superior 
attitude in Lingle. I think he was as incapable of a 
superior attitude as a frolicsome colt. He did develop 
a pose of cynicism. And with the happy-go-lucky 
Lingle this pose sat as with the youngster in the nursery 
rhyme who "stuck in a thumb, pulled out a plum, and 
said, 'What a big boy am I!' " 

Lingle was 38 years old; married; the father of 
two children; he had his Lincoln car; owned his $18,- 
000 summer home on the Michigan lake shore, and 

272 



AL CAPONE 

lived in Chicago at the Stevens Hotel. Yet I never 
heard him addressed as "Mr. Lingle." He was "Jake" 
to everybody. I cannot conceive of a headwaiter at the 
Blackstone addressing him as "Mr. Lingle" and get- 
ting away with it. He would have called him out of 
the left corner of his mouth — the ever present cigar 
being in the right corner — with: 

"Aw, g'wan; tryin' to make a big dealer out of me." 

I see him now as he strolled into the local room 
of the Tribune a few nights before his death — his 
round, beaming, full moonish face, with its inevitable 
quizzical grin and its inevitable cigar. He was smoking 
three-for-a-half-dollar cigars, then. I suppose the grin 
was as susceptible of as many interpretations as there 
are personal reactions, but to me it was always the 
grin of a mischievous, likable kid, who has just tiptoed 
out to the pantry and is wondering if there is any 
jam on his lips. A tiny cleft in his chin enhanced this 
impression of boyishness. His hair was short, sparse 
and curly; complexion, dark; rosy cheeks; smooth 
shaven; of medium height; chunky shouldered; thick 
barreled; solid underpinning. 

His eyes belied his grin. They were bland as a 
Chinaman's — and as cryptic; a little tired. The cyni- 
cism he had acquired in the police environment looked 
out from them. He had a trick of dropping the eye- 
lids half down, when engaged in interviewing, and the 
eyes then became as cold as interplanetary space. 
Then, too, the left corner of the mouth would curl 
upward into a sinister crescent, and out of it, in a long, 
harsh drawl of rising inflection, would issue: 

"Y-e-a-h?" 

273 



AL CAPONE 

It had the sting of a whip lash. 

Strolling into the local room he would join in the 
current reportorial debate — if interested — or stop for 
a bit of chaffing with one of the older men. For these 
men he would have dug in his pocket for his last dime. 
He was conspicuous amongst them by reason of his 
sartorial ensemble; always newly tailored, manicured, 
barbered, shined and polished. He was vaguely em- 
barrassed about the newness of his clothes; never 
entirely at ease in them; he seemed to be expecting 
his shoes to squeak. He was midwest — Chicago. No 
cane for him; no spats; no yellow chamois or doeskin 
gloves; none of that "rose-in-the-buttonhole-stuff" his 
friend Capone affected. And he never packed a heater, 
as do many Chicago police reporters. He was ab- 
stemious. A glass of beer was his limit. 

Gambling was a consuming fever with him. It de- 
bilitated his moral being. It enslaved him like a drug. 
His craving for it was insatiable. It finally ruined him. 
Truly, he was a gambling fool. The race track was 
Seventh Heaven. He never bet less than $100 on a 
horse and often $1,000. There is a challenge to the 
individual as well as to the community in Lingle. He is 
terrific drama in the sense expressed by Dean Shailer 
Mathews of the divinity school of the University of 
Chicago: 

"Lingle 's killing was the apex of a pyramid (of 
crime and its hookups), ninety per cent of which is still 
underground." 

Today he would be broke, borrowing right and left; 
nobody exempt from a touch; approaching even office 
boys. Tomorrow, back "in the bucks"; strutting; 

274 






AL CAPONE 

brandishing his roll; wisecracking about it. Stege 
noosed that phase of him in a five-word sentence: 

"Jake was a Pittsburgh Phil." 

The reader may recall that Pittsburgh Phil, operat- 
ing largely in Philadelphia, become famous for his 
bankroll and the display he made of it. It might con- 
tain only $50, but Phil would have $40 of it changed 
into $1 bills, put the $10 on top, snap a rubber band 
around it, and flash it everywhere. Therein lies the 
origin of the phrase, a a Philadelphia bankroll." 

"Jake couldn't help showing his roll," said Stege. 

He was a fire fan. He and the immortal Durkin were 
the only men I have ever known who could cock an 
ear at the signal box in the Tribune local room as it 
buzzed its numbers and instantly give the location 
from which the alarm had been turned in. He never 
missed a fire. His varied acquaintanceship included 
all the division marshals, the battalion chiefs, the com- 
pany captains and many members of the crews of the 
Chicago fire department. 

Further evidence of that varied acquaintanceship 
was had at his funeral. Police Commissioner William 
F. Russell headed the active pallbearers. Among those 
attending were: Deputy Police Commissioners Thomas 
Wolfe, Martin Mullen and Stege, who was also chief 
of detectives; Deputy Chief of Detectives John Egan; 
Police Captains Daniel Gilbert, William Schoemaker, 
Michael Grady and Daniel Lynch; West Parks Police 
Captain William Schramm; County Coroner Herman 
N. Bundesen; County Judge Edmund K. Jarecki; 
County Assessor Charles Krutckoff; County Clerk 
Robert M. Sweitzer; State's Attorney John A. Swan- 

275 



AL CAPONE 

son; Municipal Judges Francis B. Allegretti, William 
R. Fetzer and Edgar A. Jonas; Alderman John B. 
McDonough. 

I have sometimes thought of this story of Capone 
as the Uncle Tom's Cabin of prohibition. On that basis 
Lingle was a Topsy. He just grew up. He grew up from 
the knockabout hurly-burly of the streets into the 
police station environment, thence into the insane era 
of the Volstead gold rush. 

As I view the pattern of his life, in so far as it has 
been posthumously revealed, I see two profoundly 
significant moments — the first when he met Bill Rus- 
sell, the patrolman, in 1910; the second when he met 
Al Capone, the Torrio handy man at the Four Deuces, 
in 1920. Parenthetically, the reader who may be super- 
stitious will note the decade element in his life — 1910, 
Russell; 1920, Capone; 1930, Death. As I progress 
thus far in the writing of the Lingle chapter, I realize 
the irony of it. Here is Lingle, living, whose busi- 
ness was solving mysteries, who probably had worked 
on more crime cases than any other Chicago police 
reporter; here is Lingle, dead, bequeathing to the 
world the greatest mystery of all — the mystery of 
Lingle. Some of the material used in this biography 
was obtained from Lingle. And witness: Lingle him- 
self now provides the denouement; his murder caps 
the apex of that pyramid of crime and its hookups. It 
matches the insane pattern of the story. 

The popular inference regarding Lingle's friendship 
with Capone is that it was financially advantageous 
to Lingle. I shall speak of that later. I wish to advert 
briefly to 1921. In that year, from Lingle's lips, I 

276 






AL CAPONE 

heard that his father, dead some years, had left him 
$50,000, principally in west side real estate in Chicago. 
He said a parcel of it consisted of a three-story flat 
building. 

Lingle in 1921 had displayed unexpected affluence. 
He had made a trip to Cuba, and had returned with 
what was literally a treasure trove of gifts. These in- 
cluded egrets, coveted by women for hats. They had 
to be smuggled in. I question whether he was earning 
$65 a week then; probably around $50. His friends 
naturally commented on his lavish expenditures, but it 
never occurred to them to suspect him. He was at my 
home for dinner, immediately following his return, 
and I recall I thought little of it when he mentioned 
his father's $50,000 estate. The value of this estate — 
as disclosed by an examination of the probate court 
records, in June of 1930 — was five hundred dollars. 

In perspective he emerges as a split personality: 
naive and juvenile; crafty and secretive. 

The record, then, shows that in 1921 Lingle began 
living a lie, leading a dual life — deceiving his associ- 
ates, betraying his newspaper trust. In the local room 
he was still Jake, the grinning office boy who be- 
came a police reporter. Outside . . . What was he 
outside? What had happened? Whence the source of 
the income that had corrupted this boy? Was it Ca- 
pone? I think not. Capone wasn't established. Maybe 
some other in the Torrio outfit. Maybe police graft. 
Maybe the slot machine racket, or gambling rakeoff in 
one form or another. Whatever the source, Lingle in 
1921 was sufficiently "in the take," to quote the argot, 
that he felt impelled to concoct an alibi for himself 

277 



AL CAPONE 

in a mythical estate. And "the take" increased to such 
an extent that he concocted another alibi — a double 
one — that of a couple of rich uncles. 

Much discussion has transpired as to how Lingje 
could have so completely duped his office. I can best 
answer that with a story. Rare Frank Carson, who 
knew Chicago newspapermen like a big brother, was 
for years day city editor of the Tribune. In 1919, if 
memory serves aright, he resigned to go to the Chicago 
Herald & Examiner, as city editor. In 1923, when he 
was managing editor, I went to work for him. On an 
afternoon either in the fall of 1924 or the spring of 
1925, Lingle telephoned he was coming to see me. He 
came. He wanted a job. He had had a fight with the 
day desk of the Tribune, he said. Carson was not in 
the office. I located him at the Congress Hotel, and told 
him what had happened. 

"Keep him there," he said. "I'll hop a cab and be 
right over. We'll sign him to a contract before he snaps 
out of it." 

Lingle was pretty nervous, walking up and down 
and chewing his cigar. I managed to keep him for 
about a half hour. Then he said he guessed he would 
walk around the block. Two minutes after he had 
left, Carson arrived. His cab had been caught in a 
traffic jam. Lingle never came back. Carson was 
chagrined at losing "a chance to grab Jake." I cite the 
incident to show the professional esteem in which 
Lingle was held and the lack of suspicion concerning 
him. The fellows used to joke him: 

"Jake, if it hadn't been for a tardy taxi, you would 
have been a Hearst man now." 

278 






AL CAPONE 

For nine years this singular figure moved through 
that segment of the Chicago scene composed of the 
police stations and their headquarters; the haunts of 
gangdom, and the blatant, trivial world of the poli- 
tician. The axis, so to speak, of this world, is in the 
loop; specifically, around Randolph and Clark streets, 
where the historic Sherman Hotel faces the city hall and 
county building. 

Lingle was as familiar to the habitues of the Ran- 
dolph Street Rialto as was that landmark, the blind 
newsboy, in front of the old Ashland drugstore, where 
the Broadway surface car owl, in charge of Ike, the 
Jewish conductor, was wont to pick up Mike Mow- 
schine of George Cohan's orchestra, and others of the 
night life fusileers and fuseloilers. 

Save for the police department, the segment of the 
Chicago scene through which Lingle moved is but an 
infinitesimal and ignoble part of the real Chicago — 
but it is one that has received endless notoriety. I men- 
tion this, in passing, to set the reader right and to 
place Lingle in his proper relationship to the Chicago 
that is. I quote from the Illinois Crime Survey: 

Chicago is a city of marvelous paradoxes. It is a city of 
1,060 churches, and of numerous other religious organizations. 
It is a city of universities and of theological institutions. It is 
a city of libraries, parks and playgrounds. It is a city of mag- 
nificent altruism. Its chief defect has been in its very energy, 
its very industry and its democracy. It has welcomed to its 
streets the people of every community, and it has sought to pro- 
vide for them on a large scale. 

As in all new cities its industries and its industrial develop- 
ment have been absorbing. Its business men have furnished 

279 



AL CAPONE 

employment to millions, and have established institutions for 
the culture of millions, but they have had little time for the 
engrossing world of politics. 

They are charitable toward the people of the slums, but they 
do not understand them, nor the problems that are theirs. They 
have left these people to the control of the often corrupt politi- 
cian. They have had too much of the usual and sublime Ameri- 
can optimism; too much of the feeling that all is well with the 
world. They have been engrossed in everything but in govern- 
ment. While they have given millions for education and charity, 
they have failed to provide for their own police department, 
. . . London with its homogeneous population has one police- 
man for every 175 people. . . . Rome has a policeman on 
every corner. . . . Chicago, however, has only one policeman 
for every 900 people." 

One remembers the futile premonitory cry of Chief 
Hughes, at Silas H. Strawn's town meeting, "Give me 
three thousand more policemen." 

As Lingle's world was but a fraction of Chicago's 
industrial, financial and cultural totality, so Lingle, in 
the larger editorial aspect of the Tribune, was in- 
consequential. His obscurity was such that Colonel 
Robert R. McCormick, editor and publisher, was un- 
aware of his identity. A Tribune man had been killed 
and he was putting the vast resources of the Tribune 
into action not only to solve the murder, but to expose 
to public view that pyramid of crime and its hookup 
mentioned by Dean Mathews. Lingle, however, he did 
not know. He mistook him for another reporter, with 
whom he had had contact. Nearly 4,000 persons are 
employed on the Tribune. 

280 




LINGLE'S SLAYER? 

Nine witnesses swore that they saw Leo ("Buster") 
Brothers run through the crowd and disap- 
pear after the shooting. No one saw the 
shot fired. 



AL CAPONE 

Lingle, his quizzical grin and his three-for-a-half 
cigar. They might be dropping in on a municipal, cir- 
cuit or superior court judge, in chambers; or visiting 
at the home of Joy Morton, the capitalist, or at the 
country estate of Arthur Cutten, the millionaire broker; 
or in the private office of the commissioner of police, 
whose race-track pass Lingle used and whose official 
car he sometimes drove — the greeting there would be, 
"Hello, Jake," and, "Hello, Bill." They might be chin- 
ning with Governor Louis L. Emmerson; they might 
be attending a gangster funeral ; they might be saunter- 
ing through the city hall, or calling on State's Attorney 
John A. Swanson; they might be in conference with 
a hood, hard by the cigar store on that corner of the 
Rialto known as Racketeers' Roost; they might be 
just standing and looking at a good 4-11 fire; they 
might be talking turkey with an applicant for a privi- 
lege concession, as with John J. McLaughlin, former 
State senator, who wanted to open a gambling place 
at 606 West Madison Street — Capone territory. Did 
open it. The police raided it. He protested to Com- 
missioner Russell. He said State's Attorney Swanson 
had granted him permission to open it. His next ac- 
tion strikingly illustrates the unique status of the $65 
a week reporter. He telephoned to Lingle ; appealed to 
him as to an arbiter, judging from the conversation. 
He repeated to Lingle that Swanson had granted him 
permission to open. 

"I don't believe it," replied Lingle, "but if it is 
true, you get Swanson to write a letter to Russell noti- 
fying him it is all right for you to run." 

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AL CAPONE 

This conversation, mind you, reader, is the record. 

"Do you think Swanson's crazy?" asked McLaugh- 
lin. "He wouldn't write such a letter." 

"Well," ruled Lingle, "Russell can't let you run 
then; that's final." 

Swanson denied he had ever granted McLaughlin 
permission to open. McLaughlin was not involved in 
the Lingle killing. He was questioned and released. 
But the incident is revealing. It brings out in bolder 
relief the apex of the pyramid. The Tribune, by the 
way, in March of 1928, had listed 215 gambling houses 
in Chicago with an estimated daily business of $2,500,- 
000. 

, Lingle as arbiter or dictator, unofficial chief of police 
or whatever the role he played in that twilight zone 
between crime and respectability, appears to have been 
at his best in the headquarters on the twenty-seventh 
floor of the Stevens Hotel, 720 South Michigan Avenue, 
fourteen blocks north of the present Capone G.H.Q. 
at the Lexington Hotel, 2135 South Michigan Avenue. 
The picture of him there I can only present through 
another's eyes — those of John T. Rogers, staff corre- 
spondent of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. I quote from 
one of a series of articles Mr. Rogers wrote for his 
newspaper: 

It was not Lingle y s career as a reporter on which the search- 
light of investigation has been focused, for his newspaper 
achievements could hardly be called a career. He was only a 
leg man (a reporter who does not write) on a salary of $65 a 
week in an institution that boasts the highest paid men in the 
world. 

It was his life of ease, enjoyment and plenty, and the power 

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AL CAPONE 

he wielded in police affairs, that has aroused the curiosity not 
only of the new police commissioner, but of the Tribune itself, 
and turned the inquiry for the moment on the man and the 
mysterious sources of the large sums of money that passed with 
regularity through his bank account. 

If Lingle had any legitimate income beyond his $65 a week 
as a reporter it has not been discovered. There is no record of 
an inheritance to explain his affluence. But it is known that he 
received from unknown sources payments by the week that 
would aggregate possibly $40,000 a year. Most of this he seems 
to have disbursed as mysteriously as he received it, but no 
record of the beneficiaries has been found, or if it has it is being 
suppressed. 

This $65 a week reporter lived at one of the best hotels in 
Chicago. Although employed by a morning paper, which 
usually requires the services of a routine man in the afternoon, 
Lingle spent nearly all his afternoons at race tracks and some 
of his winters at Miami or on the Gulf Coast 

A day with Lingle is hardly the day of the average police 
reporter in any city. 

To begin with, police reporters, especially veterans like 
Lingle — he was 38 years old and had been with the Tribune 
18 years — live modestly. Not so Lingle. His life was that of a 
gentleman of leisure. At 10: 30 or 11 o'clock he rose and 
breakfasted, after which he would take the air along Michigan 
boulevard or chat with friends in the hotel lounge. The early 
afternoon would find him during the season, off for the races 
in his chauffeur driven automobile, to make his play from the 
clubhouse. 

But duty called after the races, and he would be driven to 
the Tribune Tower. Sauntering into the city room, he would 
take his envelope of assignments, if any, or inquire what was 
doing. If there was nothing special for his attention he would 
be off. 

Then to dinner at his hotel, usually with a certain police 

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AL CAPONE 

captain ; a stroll about town ; to the theater or a speakeasy and 
then to bed. 

There he was not disturbed unless for weighty matters. The 
hotel management saw to that, for Lingle was on the "private 
register." His room was No. 2706, and you could not call it, 
unless your name had been designated by Lingle as a favored 
one. He had lived there alone for six months prior to the day he 
was murdered. 

The writer inquired of an assistant manager of the hotel 
what was meant by "private register.'' 

"That is for persons who do not wish to be disturbed by 
telephone or otherwise except on important matters," he ex- 
plained. "I cannot tell you that Mr. Lingle was on the private 
register. We have been instructed to refer all queries con- 
cerning Mr. Lingle to the house officer." 

That dignitary was summoned. 

"Sure, he was on the private register," the house officer said. 
"How could he get any sleep if he wasn't ? His telephone would 
be going all night. He would get in around 2 or 3 and wanted 
rest." 

"Who would be telephoning him at that hour?" the writer 
inquired. This question seemed to amaze the house officer. 

"Why!" he exclaimed, "policemen calling up to have Jake 
get them transferred or promoted, or politicians wanting the 
'fix' put in for somebody. Jake could do it. He had a lot of 
power. I've known him twenty years. He was up there among 
the big boys and had a lot of responsibilities. A big man like 
that needs rest." 

The load he carried proved too heavy at times. The 
naive and juvenile in him overmastered the crafty and 
secretive. He had to unburden himself. At least, that 
is the only explanation I can imagine for the admis- 
sion of his activity in the beer racket quoted in the 
beginning of this chapter. I learned of it a few days 

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AL CAPONE 

after his death. Lingle was motoring in the early morn- 
ing, after the home edition had gone to press. The 
streets were deserted, or as nearly so as they ever are. 
The city slept. Only here and there, those skyscrapers, 
whose names Lingle knew by heart, winked at the 
starry sky — yellow squares of light, showing the scrub- 
women were at their tasks. Perhaps the brooding hush 
of the hour and the tranquillity influenced him. With- 
out preliminary he ended a reflective silence: 

"You know I fixed the price of beer in this town." 
That was all. He closed up. 

He could have fixed the price of beer for but one 
man — Capone. The Capone monopoly controlled the 
traffic in that commodity as it controlled vice and 
gambling. The price was $55 a barrel, although in the 
Loop it had been advanced to $60, thereby exciting 
bitter, if cautious, mutterings, amongst the prudent 
speakeasy proprietors. 

The reasonable assumption is that Lingle's multi- 
farious activities included the post of liaison man for 
1 Capone, as well as privilege concessionaire. He seems, 
J besides, to have been a sort of unofficial mayor of the 
Loop, or the first police district, the richest booze and 
i gambling territory in Chicago. 

As one may infer from half revealed facts something 
of the nature of the Lingle-Capone business relation- 
ship, so with the personal relationship. It obviously 
transcended that of reporter and client. The diamond 
studded belt buckle indicates that. Lingle must have 
! known that acceptance of such a gift constituted a 
violation of the ethics and a breach of trust with his 
newspaper, for the record is that he evaded direct 

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AL CAPONE 

answering of questions as to its source. Capone and 
Lingle seem almost to provide Volstead's perfect 
jolie-a-deux. 

Lingle had entree at all times with Capone, whether 
at the Palm Island, Florida, estate, or in Chicago. In 
December of 1927, when Capone was traveling the 
country in quest of a city to allow him shelter, and 
when Los Angeles' chief of police had given him his 
famous bum's rush, Capone boarded a train for Chicago 
— rather for Joliet, a suburb 40 miles west. Lingle 
was the only reporter Capone would have around him. 
He rode in Capone's compartment, whilst other re- 
porters cooled their heels in the train vestibule. 

An incident, once unremarked, now assumes pecu- 
liar meaning. Lingle fell down on his greatest Capone 
assignment. He had been sent to Philadelphia in March 
of 1930 to establish contact with Capone when Capone 
should be released from Eastern penitentiary — to in- 
terview — possibly to accompany— General Al the 
Scarface on his Return from Elba. The press of the 
nation had mobilized its correspondents at the gates of 
Eastern penitentiary. Lingle missed Capone, he re- 
ported to his office, and gave out that he was, "sore; 
through with him." 

Capone, rid of the newshounds, kept his peripatetic 
whereabouts secret for four days, until he popped up 
in Chicago. 

The anti-climax of this incident came four months 
later — after Lingle's death. Henry T. Brundidge, staff 
correspondent of the St. Louis Star, interviewed Ca- 
pone at his Palm Island home. Quoting from the in- 
terview: 

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AL CAPONE 

Then the writer, said, "Was Jake your friend ?" 

"Yes, up to the very day he died." 

"Did you have a row with him?" 

"Absolutely not." 

"If you did not have a row with Lingle, why did you refuse 
to see him upon your release from the workhouse in Philadel- 
phia?" 

"Who said I didn't see him?" 

"The Chicago newspapers, the files of which, including his 
own, the Tribune, set forth the facts." 

"Well — if Jake failed to say I saw him — then I didn't see 
him." 

Capone in that interview was also quoted by Mr. 
Brundidge as saying, "The Chicago police know who 
killed Lingle." That was July 18, 1930. I doubt if 
the police knew — then. But I venture the opinion as I 
write these lines, in mid-August, that Capone now 
knows who killed his friend. And Capone's loyalty is 
such that I should not be surprised, if and when the 
history of the case is compiled, to read that the 
agencies working on it had received aid from an un- 
expected quarter; that Capone had aligned himself 
on the side of the law, And again, maybe I'm wrong. 

"Policemen calling up to have Jake get them trans- 
ferred or promoted, or politicians wanting the fix put 
in," the Stevens Hotel house officer had said. Investi- 
gators checking outgoing telephone calls from Lingle's 
suite discovered, it was published in the press, that 
they were mainly to officials in the Federal building, 
county building and city hall. 

Lingle as a possible tieup between the underworld 
and the world of politics, interested Attorney Donald 

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AL CAPONE 

R. Richberg, author, and student of political economy. 
Speaking at the City Club, he said: 

"The close relationship between Jake Lingle and 
the police department has been published in the Chi- 
cago papers. Out of town newspapers describe Lingle 
even more bluntly as having been, 'the unofficial chief 
of police.' But Lingle was also strangely intimate with 
Al Capone, our most notorious gangster. 

"Surely, all Chicago knows that Samuel A. Ettelson, 
Mr. InsulPs political lawyer, who is corporation coun- 
sel for Chicago, is also chief operator of the city gov- 
ernment. Thompson is only a figurehead. Are we to 
believe that there existed an unofficial chief of police 
associating with the most vicious gang in Chicago, with- 
out the knowledge of Mr. Ettelson — who is neither 
deaf nor blind, but on the contrary has a reputation 
for knowing everything worth knowing about city 
hall affairs?" 

Mr. Ettelson was silent. 

Whether or not Lingle, somebody had to function as 
the tieup with the administration, and as Capone 
liaison man; somebody had to let the privileges. The 
system couldn't operate otherwise. Its scope is too 
vast; its revenues too enormous. 

"Federal officials," reported the Tribune, five days 
after Lingle's death, "estimate that there are 10,00T 
speakeasies in Chicago, which buy six barrels </. occr 
at $55 a barrel each week. This would mean a weekly [ 
revenue for the gangs of $3,500,000. In addition to 
this, the speakeasies buy approximately two cases of 
booze a week at $90 a case, bringing in $1,800,000 
more a week for the gangs. The beer costs about $4 

2&S 



AL CAPONE 

a barrel to make, and the booze about $20 a case." 
The Chicago Daily News put the number of speak- 
easies at 6,000 and the number of handbooks — for 
horse-race betting — at 2,000 — and the total revenue, 
along with that from vice and rackets, at $6,260,000 
a week. Elsewhere, I have estimated the number of 
speakeasies in Chicago at 20,000. The disparity lies 
in the fact that the newspapers have not listed the 
drug stores and cigar stores peddling gin and Bourbon, 
and the beer flats. These I included under the general 
heading of speakeasies. 

Of the more than 500 gangster slayings in Chicago 
since the beginning of the Volstead bootleg war in 
1923, none roused the public and the press like that 
of Lingle. It centered world-wide attention on Chicago. 
Only two others have so dramatized organized crime 
and its hookups. The one is that of Assistant State's 
Attorney William H. McSwiggin in April of 1926, and 
the other that of Gerald E. Buckley in Detroit, July 
23d of 1930. Buckley, announcer for radio station 
WMBC, and who played a leading part in the election 
recalling Mayor Charles Bowles, was shot down a 
few hours after he had announced the result of the 
election. 

In Chicago, the old question, never answered, "Who 
killed McSwiggin?" was supplanted by, "Who killed 
Lingle and why?" None was more determined to get 
iat the answer than Colonel Robert R. McCorrnick. He 
took command of the local room and within four hours 
had offered a reward of $25,000, I shall not forget a 
Sunday afternoon when he summoned the members of 
the entire news staff, and talked for 45 minutes. I 

289 



AL CAPONE 

feel I am not at liberty to discuss what he said. He 
minced no words. When he had finished we knew 
what he meant. We knew the search for Lingle's slay- 
ers never would abate. We knew that the investigation 
of the Lingle case would explore all ramifications,; 
wherever they might lead, and pitilessly reveal them. 
This meeting was but one of the incidents back of 
the scenes, back of the Front Page, as someone de- 
scribed it, of which the public was unaware. I believe 
Colonel McCormick unhesitatingly would spend a 
million dollars to solve the Lingle case and another 
million to expose and rid Chicago of the conditions 
underlying it. 

I have said Lingle was terrific drama. The fact that 
he was a nonentity in the larger editorial aspect of the 
Tribune intensifies him as such. He had never had a 
byline in his newspaper. His name was unknown to its 
readers in Chicagoland and the five Middle West states 
in which it circulates. He was, of course, unknown to 
his office associates in the role posthumously revealed. 
With his death, he dominated Page One news and 
topped the editorial columns. He caused the ouster 
of a police commissioner and a chief of detectives. 
Two days after his murder, the Tribune's leading 
editorial, entitled The Challenge, read in part: 

Alfred J. Lingle, a reporter for the Tribune, was murdered 
Monday afternoon in the Illinois Central subway at Randolph 
street and Michigan avenue. He was passing through to take a 
train. Many people were in the passageway. Thousands were 
nearby. The murderer escaped in the crowds. The indications 
are that he had accomplices, one probably close at hand, and 
several others on the scene. 

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AL CAPONE 

The meaning of this murder is plain. It was committed in 
reprisal and in attempt at intimidation. Mr. Lingle was a 
police reporter and an exceptionally well informed one. His 
personal friendships included the highest police officials and 
the contacts of his work had made him familiar to most of the 
big and little fellows of gangland. What made him valuable to 
his newspaper marked him as dangerous to the killers. 

It was very foolish ever to think that assassination would 
be confined to the gangs which have fought each other for the 
profits of crime in Chicago. The immunity from punishment 
after gang murders would be assumed to cover the committing 
of others. Citizens who interfered with the criminals were no 
better protected than the gangmen who fought each other for 
the revenue from liquor selling, coercion of labor and trade, 
brothel house keeping and gambling. 

There have been eleven gang murders in ten days. That has 
become the accepted course of crime in its natural stride, but to 
the list of Colosimo, O'Banion, the Gennas, Murphy, Weiss, 
Lombardo, Esposito, the seven who were killed in the St. 
Valentine's day massacre, the name is added of a man whose 
business was to expose the work of the killers. 

The Tribune accepts this challenge. It is war. There will be 
casualties, but that is to be expected, it being war. The Tribune 
has the support of all the other Chicago newspapers. . . . 
The challenge of crime to the community must be accepted. 
It has been given with bravado. It is accepted, and we'll see 
what the consequences are to be. Justice will make a fight of 
it or it will abdicate. 

June 18th, the Tribune carried an editorial, The 
Lingle Investigation Goes On. It stated in part that 
while the Tribune did "not know why its reporter was 
killed/' it was engaged in finding out, "and expects to 
be successful. It may take time; the quicker, the bet- 
ter, but this enlistment is for duration. It may require 

291 



AL CAPONE 

long, patient efforts, but the Tribune is prepared for 
that, and hopes that some lasting results will be ob- 
tained which will stamp justice on the face of the 
crime." 

At the masthead of its editorial page, the Tribune, 
had long had a "platform for Chicagoland," consisting 
of five planks. June 20, it added a sixth, End the Reign 
of Gangdom. 

"Little need be added," it stated in a supplemental 
editorial, "by way of explanation. The killers, the 
racketeers who exact tribute from business men and 
union labor, the politicians who use and shield the 
racketeers, the policemen and judges who have been 
prostituted by the politicians, all must go." 

The investigation went on, and June 30th, in a col- 
umn and a half editorial entitled, The Lingle Murder, 
the Tribune said, in part: 

When Alfred Lingle was murdered the motive seemed to be 
apparent. He was a Tribune police reporter and when, in the 
Illinois Central subway at Randolph Street, he was shot, his 
newspaper saw no other explanation than that his killers either 
thought he was close to information dangerous to them or in- 
tended the murder as notice given the newspapers that crime 
was ruler in Chicago. It could be both, a murder to prevent 
a disclosure and to give warning against attempts at others. 

It had been expected that in due time the reprisals which 
have killed gangster after gangster in the city would be at- 
tempted against any other persons or agencies which under- 
took to interfere with the incredibly profitable criminality. No 
one had been punished for any of these murders. They have 
been bizarre beyond belief, and, being undetected, have been 
assumed, not the least by their perpetrators, to be undetectable 
— at least not to be punishable. 

292 



AL CAPONE 

When, then, Lingle was shot by an assassin the Tribune 
assumed that the criminals had taken the next logical step and 
were beginning their attack upon newspaper exposure. The 
Herald and Examiner and the Chicago Evening Post joined 
the Tribune in offering rewards for evidence which would lead 
to conviction of the murderers. The newspaper publishers met 
and made a common cause against the new tactics of gangland, 
The preliminary investigation has modified some of the first 
assumptions, although it has not given the situation a different 
essence. 

Alfred Lingle now takes a different character, one in which 
he was unknown to the management of the Tribune when he 
was alive. He is dead and cannot defend himself, but many 
facts now revealed must be accepted as eloquent against him. 
He was not, and he could not have been, a great reporter. His 
ability did not contain these possibilities. He did not write 
stories, but he could get information in police circles. He was 
not and he could not be influential in the acts of his newspaper, 
but he could be useful and honest, and that is what the Tribune 
management took him to be. His salary was commensurate with 
his work. The reasonable appearance against Lingle now is 
that he was accepted in the world of politics and crime for 
something undreamed of in his office, and that he used this in 
undertakings which made him money and brought him to his 
death. . . . 

There are weak men on other newspapers and in other pro- 
fessions, in positions of trust and responsibility greater than 
that of Alfred Lingle, The Tribune, although naturally dis- 
turbed by the discovery that this reporter was engaged in prac- 
tices contrary to the code of its honest reporters and abhorred 
by the policy of the newspaper, does not find that the main 
objectives of the inquiry have been much altered. The crime 
and the criminals remain, and they are the concern of the 
Tribune as they are of the decent elements in Chicago. . . . 

If the Tribune was concerned when it thought that an at- 

293 



AL CAPONE 

tack had been made upon it because it was inimical to crime, 
it is doubly concerned if it be the fact that crime had made a 
connection in its own office. Some time ago a criminal use was 
made of a Tribune want ad. A Negro by means of it raped a 
girl nurse in a north shore household and escaped. His crime 
was atrocious and his escape might have been successful, but 
the Tribune regarded it as one which could not go unpunished. 
It therefore put its own men on the work and at the end of five 
months the criminal was taken, convicted and sent to the peni- 
tentiary. He might have remained immune if the ordinary proc- 
esses of law had been used, because they are not equipped for 
these particular efforts. . . . The police would have hunted 
for this rapist until other and newer criminals required their 
efforts. Thereafter he would have been only a man wanted. To 
particular efforts he was a man wanted until he was had. 

The Tribune trusts that it will be the same with the mur- 
derers of Alfred Lingle in the search in which it is engaged. 
That he is not a soldier dead in the discharge of duty is un- 
fortunate considering that he is dead. It is of no consequence 
to an inquiry determined to discover why he was killed, by 
whom killed and with what attendant circumstances. Tribune 
readers may be assured that their newspaper has no intention 
of concealing the least fact of this murder and its consequences 
and meanings. The purpose is to catch the murderers. . . . 

The murder of this reporter, even for racketeering reasons, 
as the evidence indicates it may have been, made a breach in 
the wall which criminality has so long maintained about its 
operations here. Some time, some where, there will be a hole 
found or made and the Lingle murder may prove to be it. The 
Tribune will work at its case upon this presumption and with j 
this hope. It has gone into the cause in this fashion and its . 
notice to gangland is that it is in for duration. Kismet 

The investigation by June 30th had uncovered some 
of Lingle's financial transactions — as many as were con- 

294 



AL CAP'ONE 

ducted through one bank, the Lake Shore Trust and 
Savings — and all of his stock market transactions. The 
bank account inquiry included the period from Jan- 
uary 1, 1928, to June 9, 1930, the day of his death. It 
showed that in 1928, Lingle had deposited $26,500; 
in 1929, $25,100; in the six months of 1930, $12,300. 
That the bank account was an incomplete record was 
indicated to the investigators in the matter of the 
Long Beach, Indiana, summer home. The bank checks 
showed he had paid only $6,000 toward the purchase 
price, whereas he actually had paid $16,000. The ad- 
ditional $10,000 was said to have been paid in cash. 

"Where he obtained the funds, with which to make 
these payments," the official report read; "except in- 
sofar as they are covered by the checks above referred 
to, we have thus far been unable to ascertain. 

"We have heard from sources fairly reliable that 
the night before Lingle was murdered he had as much 
as $9,000 in cash in his possession. The source of this 
also remains a mystery at the present time." 

Elsewhere: 

"At the time of the murder, when the coroner made 
a search of the body, only $65 in money was found. 
But it later developed that a reporter on the Tribune 
had taken $1,400 in bills of $100 denomination from 
one of Lingle 's pockets. This sum was turned over to 
Mrs. Lingle by a representative of the Tribune." 

The investigators found evidence that Lingle in 
March of 1930 had paid insurance premiums on 
jewelry valued at $12,000, but they were unable to 
locate it. 

Evidently for betting purposes, Lingle drew out in 

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AL CAPONE 

1928 on race-track checks, $8,000, and on dog-track 
checks, $2,300; in 1929, $5,300 race track and $200 
dog track; in the six months of 1930, $1,500 race 
track, and $100 dog track. In March of 1929 he made 
a $2,000 initial payment on his Lincoln car. 

In his stock market speculations, Lingle operated 
through five accounts. In one of these, his partner was 
Police Commissioner Russell. It was started in No- 
vember of 1928 with a $20,000 deposit. The official 
report read: 

"This account appears to have been carried anony- 
mously on the broker's books as Number 49 Account. 
However, our information is that it was an account in 
which equal interests were shared by Lingle and Wil- 
liam F. Russell, who was then commissioner of police. 
. . . We have advised with experts, and they give us 
the date of September 20, 1929, as the peak date (pre- 
ceding the stock market crash in October of 1929) as 
far as paper profits were concerned. . . . 

"Using that date the . . . account showed a paper 
profit of $23,696.84, if it had been closed out on that 
date. After the stock market crash, these stocks went 
down and on June 26, 1930 (when the official report 
was written), the condition of this account showed a 
loss of $50,850.09." 

Lingle's total paper profits, in all five accounts, at 
the peak date, September 20, 1929, were $85,000. 
With the crash they vanished and he incurred a loss 
of $75,000. Russell's loss was variously reported as 
$50,000, $100,000 and $250,000. 

"As to the source of the moneys put up by Lingle 
in these stock accounts, and deposited by him in his 

296 



AL CAPONE 

bank account," the report reads, "we have thus far 
been able to come to no conclusion except as indicated 
in the accounts." 

The investigation showed Lingle had borrowed ex- 
tensively from gamblers, politicians and others. One 
loan, of $2,000, was from James V. (Jimmy) Mondi, 
once a Mont Tennes handbook man, who was with 
Capone in Cicero and is now a Capone Loop gambling 
operator. 

"Lingle," the report read, "has not yet paid Mondi." 

One loan, of $5,000, was from Alderman Berthold 
A. Cronson, nephew of Corporation Counsel Samuel 
A. Ettelson, and "he states," the report read, "that the 
loan was a pure friendship proposition. . . ." The loan 
was made in August of 1929 and was not repaid. 

The investigators were informed that Corporation 
Counsel Ettelson had let Lingle have $5,000. "Mr. Et- 
telson," the report read, "could not be reached person- 
ally, but persons apparently authorized to speak for him 
have denied to us that he ever loaned Lingle anything 
any time, but that he had a custom of giving Lingle 
some small remembrance at Christmas time, like a box 
of cigars. . . ." 

One loan of $2,500 was from Major Carlos Ames, 
president of the civil service commission. "Major Ames 
states," the report read, "that this loan was a purely 
personal affair, and that Lingle's excuse for borrowing 
from him was that he was being pressed because of 
market losses and needed it to cover transactions upon 
the market." 

One loan of $300 was from Police Lieutenant 
Thomas McFarland. "Lieutenant McFarland insists," 

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AL CAPONE 

the report read, "this loan was a purely personal af- 
fair, he having been a close personal friend of Lingle 's 
for many years." 

A check for $500, payable to cash, drawn by Lingle, 
bore the endorsement of Police Captain Daniel Gil- 
bert, in command of the first district. "Captain Gilbert 
states," the report read, "that during a conversation 
with another friend and Lingle, who were complaining 
of the market conditions, he, Gilbert mentioned he was 
unable to pay an insurance premium then due, and 
that Lingle insisted upon loaning him the $500. Gilbert 
used it to pay the insurance." 

Rumor had it that Sam Hare, roadhouse and gam- 
bling joint owner, had loaned Lingle $20,000. Hare 
denied it. 

The murder investigation was conducted with a 
minimum of publicity, clues and new avenues of in- 
formation being withheld. The policy was the reverse 
of that previously employed in gangster killings in 
Chicago, and the purpose was to develop evidence that 
would produce convictions. The Lingle case was a 
fight to the finish, between justice and organized crime. 

The odds overwhelmingly favored organized crime. 
In Cook County since 1923 there had been more than 
500 gangster killings, with not a single conviction. I 
doubt if in all its long career the Tribune had ever 
tackled an undertaking of such magnitude as when it 
enlisted with the state's attorney's office to send Lingle's 
murderer or murderers to the electric chair. The won- 
dering looker-on could be pardoned an involuntary 
gasp. David had challenged Goliath. 

While officially no announcement was forthcoming, 

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AL CAPONE 

there were developments that high-lighted basic ele- 
ments of the investigation and emphasized its trend. 
Two theories were widely discussed. Both cast Lingle 
in the role of privilege concessionaire. Significantly 
enough both pointed to Capone's enemies — the Moran 
gang and the Aiellos, who had affiliated and were re- 
ferred to as the North Side Mob. As by-products of 
these theories the investigators studied rumors that 
certain members of the Morans, notably Ted New- 
berry and Frank Foster, had deserted to set up in 
business for themselves, under the all-mighty Capone 
aegis. 

The first theory, predicated on the maze of reports 
emanating from the underworld following Lingle's 
death, was that he had been paid $50,000 to put the 
fix in for an indoor dog track on the west side; that 
he had failed, but had kept the money. The second, and 
which was considered more plausible in the light of 
subsequent happenings, was that he had demanded a 
fifty per cent rakeoff from the ritzy Sheridan Wave 
Tournament Club at 621 Waveland Avenue, on the 
near north side, and that when the management re- 
fused to comply he sicked the police on the place. 
Among those sought or questioned in the investigation 
were: 

Jack Zuta, vice monger, general utility racketeer, 
and brains of the North Side Mob, whom the reader has 
met before in the pages of this book; Zuta was be- 
lieved to have had knowledge of the plot to kill Lingle, 
if not to have planned it. 

Frank Foster, an original O'Banionite, brother of 
John Citro, who once was an intimate of Sam Samoots 

299 



AL CAPONE 

Amatima; indictment for murder voted against him in 
1924, but stricken off; the revolver with which Lingle 
was killed, a snub barreled .38 Colt, known as a belly- 
gun, was traced to Foster. It was one of a dozen he 
had bought from Peter Von Frantzius, sporting goods 
dealer, at 608 Diversey Parkway. Von Frantzius is the 
same who sold machine guns used in the Moran gang 
massacre. Foster, captured in Los Angeles July 1st, 
was indicted for complicity in the murder; extradited 
to Chicago, and as this is written is awaiting trial. 

Ted Newberry, Moran whiskey peddler, said to have 
been with Foster when Foster bought the dozen re- 
volvers. Newberry was with Moran and Willie Marks, 
both of whom by the way have been strangely missing 
for weeks, when on February 14, 1929, the three nearly 
walked into the North Clark Street garage to make the 
massacre a ten- instead of a seven-man affair. 

James Red Forsyth, described in reports as the 
actual killer; an associate of Simon J. Gorman, former 
labor official and owner of a trucking company, and of 
Frank Noonan, both of whom also are sought; Forsyth, 
arrested once in a police raid on the Loop headquarters 
of the Morans, was released when he was discovered 
to be on the payroll of Corporation Counsel Samuel A. 
Ettelson. 

Grover C. Dullard, attache of the Sheridan Wave, 
once chauffeur and bodyguard for Terry Druggan. 
Dullard, who lived in Lingle's old neighborhood, had 
known him since boyhood. 

Joey Josephs, professional gambler, and Julian Po- 
tatoes Kaufman, owners, along with Moran, of the 
Sheridan Wave. Kaufman, son of a wealthy commis- 

300 



AL CAPONE 

sion merchant, is listed in the Who's Who of Organized 
Crime in Chicago, as having been "associated with im- 
portant gangsters, notably those of the old O'Banion 
gang, as a receiver of stolen property, and has been 
mentioned frequently after murders charged to 
O'Banion gangsters." Lingle had known Kaufman for 
at least six years. 

Fred Burke, America's most wanted man, and its 
most dangerous criminal; for whose apprehension re- 
wards totaling $75,000 have been posted in Kentucky, 
Indiana and Wisconsin for bank robberies and by the 
United States Government for a national bank robbery, 
wanted in Ohio for the murder of a policeman; in 
Michigan for the same crime; in St. Joe, of the latter 
state, December 14, 1929, he shot down Patrolman 
Charles Skelly in cold blood, when Skelly sought to 
adjust a traffic argument with him; Burke, formerly of 
Egan's Rats, St. Louis, is a professional killer, whose 
services are for hire to the highest bidder; notorious 
for his disguises; in the Moran gang massacre he wore 
a policeman's uniform; in the Lingle killing he posed 
as a priest, it is believed. 

Of these, Zuta, a Jew, was the first questioned. The 
vice monger was a softie. He lacked the stamina to 
withstand the ordeal of a session with the police. He 
always sang. Gangland had him pegged as yellow and 
a squawker. But he was necessary. He had a shrewder 
mind than the run of the mill criminals. 

Held for 24 hours at the detective bureau, 1121 
South State Street, Zuta was released on bond at 10:25 
o'clock Tuesday night, July 1st. In Los Angeles the 

301 



AL CAPONE 

morning of the same day, Frank Foster had been ar- 
rested. Either the coincidence or his conscience — maybe 
both — terrorized Zuta. Lieutenant George Barker of 
the bureau, off duty, was leaving for his home. Zuta 
accosted him in the lobby: 

"Lieutenant, 111 be killed if I go through the Loop. 
When you arrested me, you took me from a place of 
safety and you ought to return me to a place of safety." 

Barker replied half jestingly: 

"Run along." 

Zuta's teeth were chattering: 

"Lieutenant, I got a woman with me. You'd do that 
much for a woman, wouldn't you?" 

"Ail right," said Barker. "You're entitled to safe 
conduct. Climb in." 

In they climbed into Barker's own car, a Pontiac 
sedan. Besides the woman, a Miss Leona Bernstein, 
Zuta had two male companions, Solly Vision and Al- 
bert Bratz. Vision sat with Barker in the front seat. 
Zuta, between Bratz and the Bernstein woman, in the 
rear. 

The bureau is six blocks south of Van Buren Street, 
which is the southern boundary of the Loop. From 
Van Buren to Lake Street is seven blocks. Barker's 
objective was Lake Street, where Zuta and his party 
were to board an elevated train. Barker thus had 13 
blocks to go — north in State Street. He drove slowly — 
15 miles an hour. Entering the Loop at Van Buren 
he was behind a surface car. 

State Street, a White Way, since its $1,000,000 light- 
ing system was installed, was bright as day, and 
thronged with after talkie theater patrons, sauntering 

302 



AL CAPONE 

groups of window shoppers, and motorists enjoying an 
evening spin. The Pontiac had passed Quincy, and was 
within two blocks of the World's Busiest Corner, Madi- 
son and State, when Zuta yelled: 

"They're after us." 

Solly Vision rolled over the back of the front seat 
and hugged the floor in the rear of the tonneau. 

A blue sedan with two men in the rear seat had 
slipped up behind them. It swung to the right, to nose 
through traffic and get between them and the curb. 
As it accomplished the maneuver, one of the men 
stepped on the left running board, yanked a .45 caliber 
automatic from an armpit holster and emptied a 7~ 
cartridge clip at the Pontiac. His fellow gunman 
opened fire through the left rear window, and the driver, 
gears shifted into neutral and engine idling, joined 
them. 

Now Barker, 33 years old, youngest lieutenant on 
the force, was with the United States Marines in the 
world war. He was one of eight survivors of a com- 
pany of 250 that fought at Chateau Thierry, Soissons 
and St. Mihiel. He was twice wounded. He has re- 
ceived 15 creditable mentions since becoming a police- 
man. Barker slapped back his emergency brake, and 
hopped out, his revolver going as he hopped. The oc- 
cupants of the sedan had either reloaded or grabbed 
other guns. They were blazing away again. Barker 
traded shot for shot with them. 

A northbound State Street surface car behind Bar- 
ker was forced to stop because the Pontiac was in the 
car tracks. The motorman was Elbert Lusader, 38 years 
old, 7643 Berwyn Avenue, father of three children. As 

303 



AL CAPONE 

he stood on the glass enclosed front platform, fumbling 
with the controls and still wondering, perhaps, what it 
was all about, a .45 caliber bullet pierced his throat. 
He died 12 hours later. Olaf Svenste, 69 years old, 
1519 North Avers Avenue, a night watchman, plodding 
to work, was wounded in the right arm. It was the 
wildest shooting in the Loop since the killing of Lorn- 
bardo. 

Waving his revolver at Barker, Policeman William 
Smith came galloping on the scene. He thought it 
was a gangster melee. He was set to shoot Barker, who 
was in civilian clothes, when Barker called to him he 
was a police officer and showed his star. 

The gunmen apparently had exhausted their ammuni- 
tion. They ceased fire and headed north in State Street. 
Barker, with Policeman Smith as a reinforcement, 
jumped in the Pontiac. Zuta and his party had ducked. 
They were nowhere to be seen, although the battle had 
not lasted more than a minute. Barker shifted gears 
and started after the sedan. As he did an astounding 
thing happened. A black curtain materialized before 
him, completely blocking his view — a gigantic black 
curtain stretching from side to side of State Street, 
and rising high as the cornices of the buildings. Gang- 
land was using its newest device to baffle pursuit. The 
driver of the sedan had pressed a plunger near the ac- 
celerator and from the exhaust poured a smoke screen 
dense as any belched by United States naval destroyers. 
It is much used in bringing truckloads of booze in 
from Canada. 

Barker wasn't deterred. The Pontiac snorted through 
it at 50 miles an hour. He sighted the sedan at Madison 

304 



AL CAPONE 

Street. It turned east for a block to go north again in 
Wabash Avenue. Barker was 50 yards behind it and 
rapidly overhauling it, when his car abruptly stopped. 
He couldn't start it. He decided he was out of gas. He 
was, but he didn't learn the real reason until the next 
day, when examination showed a bullet had perforated 
the tank. 

"If we can learn from Zuta who was shooting at 
him, we may have the solution of the Lingle murder," 
said Chief Investigator Pat Roche of the State's At- 
torney's office. It was the clearest indication of the 
trend of the investigation yet revealed. 

Zuta had ducked; fled Chicago; gone in a hole. 
Roche didn't find him; neither did the police; gangland 
caught up with him a month later to the day — August 
1st — in a summer resort dancehall on Upper Nemahbin, 
25 miles west of Milwaukee. Zuta must have figured 
he was safely hidden. He was putting a nickel in the 
mechanical piano. A dozen couples were dancing. 

Five men entered, single file. One carried a machine 
gun; one, a rifle; two, sawed-off shotguns; one, a pis- 
tol. Zuta's back was toward them. He was still fiddling 
with the nickel. He just had time to turn, when all 
five opened fire, putting 16 slugs and bullets into him. 

What did Zuta know? Too much. 

Death couldn't silence this squawker. His tongue 
wagged from the grave; wagged of things gangland's 
chieftains and the politicians would have paid a fancy 
price to suppress; quite the best job of squawking he 
had ever done. Zuta, the Jew, was scrupulous in his 
bookkeeping and punctilious as to personal data. He 
hoarded his memoranda. He was a Shylock Pepys. The 

305 



AL CAPONE 

memoranda were discovered by investigators in four 
Loop safety deposit boxes. Included were balance 
sheets, described as revealing "for the first time in the 
history of gangdom the operations of a mob." 

Each sheet, presumably, represented one week's 
transactions of the Zuta-Moran-Aiellos in gambling 
and bootlegging: The average weekly receipts were 
$429,000, from cafes and roadhouses, slot machines 
and the Fairview Kennel dog tracks — and yet the beg- 
gared Zuta and his mob, kicked around by the Capone 
monopoly, were but a Lazarus crew snatching at crumbs 
from the rich man's table. 

Under disbursements was an item, "East Chicago, 
$3,500," believed to refer to East Chicago avenue police 
station, whose district comprises the Forty-second ward, 
in which Zuta operated many handbooks, brothels and 
beer flats. 

Canceled checks, notes and various documents sup- 
plied evidence of the entente cordiale with city and 
county officialdom. The ledger showed payments of as 
high as $108,469 a week to one, M. K., believed to be 
Matt Kolb, ward heeler and gambling operative, ac- 
cording to the investigators. He apparently distributed 
the protection bribes to police and city and county offi- 
cials. These aggregated never less than $100,000 a 
month. The Zuta agenda showed he had divided the 
county into districts for slot machine privileges and 
booze, alky and beer sales, and had listed the political 
leaders of each district. 

Some of those revealed as receiving checks from 
Zuta or giving notes to him, with the amounts, were: 

306 



AL CAPONE 

Judge Joseph W. Schulman of the Municipal court, 
$5,000. 

Emmanuel Eller, former judge of the Municipal, 
Superior and Criminal courts, son of Morris Eller, boss 
of the Bloody Twentieth ward, $250. 

Nate De Lue, assistant business manager of the 
Board of Education, $150. 

P. W. Rothenberg, former chief deputy coroner of 
Cook County, Republican committeeman of the 
Twenty-fourth ward, $500. 

Attorney Louis I. Fisher, brother of Judge Harry M. 
Fisher of the Circuit court, $600. 

Illinois State Senator Harry W. Starr, former assist- 
ant to Corporation Counsel Samuel A. Ettelson, $400. 
He said the checks were in payment of legal services. 

Former Illinois State Senator George Van Lent, $600. 

There was a check for $500 payable to the Regular 
Republican Club of Cook county. It was signed by 
Zuta and bore the rubber stamp endorsement of Charles 
V. Barrett, mayoralty aspirant, member of the Cook 
County board of review, and former treasurer of the 
Republican county central committee. 

There was a card issued in 1927 by former Sheriff 
Charles E. Gray don of Cook County, reading, "the 
bearer, J. Zuta, is extended the courtesies of all depart- 
ments." Another souvenir was, "Membership Card No. 
772 — Jack Zuta — William Hale Thompson Republican 
Club — America First — Farm Relief — Inland Water- 
ways — Flood Control. Homer K. Galpin, chairman." 
Galpin then was chairman of the Republican county 
central committee. 

307 



AL CAPONE 

There was a letter from Chief of Police William O. 
Freeman of Evanston, churchly suburb of 65,000 souls, 
adjoining Chicago on the north, and whose foremost 
citizen is Charles G. Dawes, United States ambassador 
to Great Britain. The letter, handwritten, in pen and 
ink, was on the official stationery of the Evanston police 
department. It read: 

"Dear Jack: I am temporarily in need of four C's 
($400) for a couple of months. Can you let me have 
it? The bearer does not know what it is, so put it in 
envelope, and seal it, and address it to me. Your Old 
Pal, Bill Freeman. P.S. Will let you know the night of 
the party, so be sure and come." 

Freeman, a former member of the Chicago police de- 
partment, acknowledged the handwriting. He enjoyed 
the warm friendship of Mr. Dawes and was expecting 
through his influence to be appointed chief of police of 
the Chicago World's Fair in 1933. 

No plaguy tidbit was overlooked by this Shylock 
Pepys. Here were two picture postcards from the genial 
Alderman George M. Maypole. They had been mailed 
from Hot Springs, Arkansas, where the Maypoles were 
vacationing in February of 1926, and were addressed 
to "Mr. Jack Zuta." One, on the bridle path, bore a 
photograph of the alderman, his wife and daughter, ; 
and read, "Regards from the Maypoles." Another read. 
"I hope when this reaches you, you will be feeling much 
better." 

Ghosts of gangland promenaded. Here was the 
card of 

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AL CAPONE 

Frank Yale 

Yale Factory 

Cigar M'f'g Co., Inc. 6309-11 New Utrecht Ave. 

Brooklyn, N. Y. 
Tel. Utrecht 10281. 

That same Francesco Yale, long since slain. Here 
was a check for $500 to Camille Lombardo, widow of 
Antonio Lombardo, Capone head of the Unione Sicili- 
one; another for $560 to Anthony Mops Volpe; yeoman 
of the Capone bodyguard in 1927 and for whom Dia- 
mond Joe Esposito had obtained a special deputy 
sheriff's badge. And, too, there was a check for $1,000 
to Diamond Joe himself, former Republican committee- 
man of the Twenty-fifth ward, political lieutenant of 
Deneen, the dry United States senator. 

No such insight had ever before been vouchsafed into 
the labyrinth of gangland. Louis La Cava, who in 1924 
had negotiated for the Capone-Torrio invasion of 
Cicero, had lost favor with the Scarface and been exiled. 
In June of 1927, from his hideout in New York City, 
he was writing to Zuta to organize against Capone. If 
"Dear Jack," would only consent, "I'd help you or- 
ganize a strong business organization capable of coping 
with theirs in Cicero. You know you have lots of virgin 
territory on the north side limits border line, and they 
are going to try and prevent me from lining up with you 
and thereby keep starving me out, until I go back to 
them, begging for mercy." And in another letter, "I 
have heard the Big Boy (Capone, apparently) is stop- 
ping my brothers from making a living. . . ." 

One of the four safety deposit boxes yielded a sup- 
pressed police document — the confession of a 19-year- 

309 



AL CAPONE 

old girl that she had been hired as a decoy to lure Zuta 
to a spot where he could be kidnaped and held for 
$50,000 ransom. She named Mops Volpe and Joe 
Genaro. The confession was dated June 16, 1927. It 
was not only suppressed but was delivered into Zuta's 
keeping, supposedly by friendly police officials. 

As voluminous as were these revelations, they repre- 
sented but a small part of the evidence amassed by the 
relentless Roche, chief investigator of the state's attor- 
ney's office. That which had a direct bearing on the 
Lingle case was withheld from the public. That which 
was revealed, however, was sufficient to elicit the ob- 
servation from Roche: 

"A lot of men will be leaving town." 

McCutcheon, dean of cartoonists, hailed the evi- 
dence as, "At Last a Breach In the Walls," and the 
Tribune editorialized : 

. . . Progress has been made in solving the murder of Al 
Lingle, the Tribune reporter. Foster has been indicted for the 
murder. The business records of Jack Zuta, the murdered 
racketeer, have been located, and the prosecuting authorities 
are examining them in detail . . . they provide evidence for 
the first time of the relations of gangdom with politics and 
the police. This is a tremendous advance over anything that 
has been accomplished hitherto in any American city toward 
the suppression of the universal threat to society. The Zuta 
journals may throw light on the Lingle murderers, and, more 
than that, they promise exposure and prosecution of gangsters 
and their allies who have hitherto enjoyed immunity. . . . 
Chicago is on the way to becoming the first great city in Amer- 
ica to rid itself of gangster influence and gangster assassina- 
tion. The energy and resourcefulness which uncovered the 
Zuta papers will follow through. The day of reckoning is 
measurably nearer. 

310 



AL CAPONE 

Zuta was the second squawker to die in 1930, the 
other being Julius Rosenheim, professional stool 
pigeon for the police and a paid informant of the 
Chicago Daily News. He was killed February 1st. Le- 
land H. Reese, the News' crime reporter, who was at 
the Washington Park track the day Lingle was killed 
and asked for a bodyguard, stated in a signed article 
that he had been informed by "a man who has reason 
to know," that Rosenheim had been killed by the 
Capone gang in an effort to frighten the News from 
its campaign to halt the Capone gang's beer selling 
activities in the Loop. 

The State Street shooting and Zuta's subsequent as- 
sassination show the desperate lengths to which gang- 
land will go when cornered, as it appears to have been 
at that juncture. Again, the authorities were hot on the 
trail of Fred Burke. Charles Bonner, a minor racketeer, 
in July of 1930, had discovered Burke's hideout, in 
northern Michigan, in a secluded cottage 40 miles north 
of Grand Rapids, and near the town of Newaygo and 
Hess' Lake. Anxious to get the $75,000 rewards, Bon- 
ner tipped off the police that Burke occasionally visited 
a pharmacy in Chicago at 501 West 79th Street. Bon- 
ner arranged with the police to trap Burke. Burke was 
expected to visit the pharmacy either Wednesday, July 
9th, or Saturday, July 12th. Burke did not visit the 
pharmacy, but — 

Soon after midnight of Wednesday, the 9th, two men 
walked into Bonner's home at 7353 Yale Avenue. He 
and Mrs. Bonner — she with her five months' old son, 
Bobbie, in her arms — were alone. Mrs. Bonner stepped 
out of the room, thinking they were to talk over some 

311 



AL CAPONE 

kind of business matters. She heard her husband say, 
" You've got me wrong on that, pal." Then shots. She 
rushed into the room. Bonner was dead. The two men 
were leisurely taking their departure. She described one 
of them as "a blond haired man, who was drunk and 
held his gun in his left hand." Significant words. The 
other she identified as Burke, referring to him as "that 
arch fiend." 

Zuta's killing and that of Bonner somehow remind 
me of the comment of Edgar Wallace, the English play- 
wright and author of crime stories : 

"The big gang leaders who did not connive the mur- 
der will take action and the murderer will be 'put on 
the spot,' at the earliest opportunity, and with him the 
man or men who organized Lingle's murder. Gangland 
is making a last desperate effort to keep the hold which 
venal lawyers and politicians have secured for it." 

That latter in turn reminds me of a remark by Ca- 
pone: 

"There is one thing worse than a crook, and that is 
a crooked man in a big political job. A man that pre- 
tends he is enforcing the law and is really taking 
'dough' out of somebody breaking it — even a self re- 
specting hood hasn't any use for that kind of fellow. 
He buys them like he would any other article necessary 
in his trade, but he hates them in his heart." 

The spring and summer of 1930 had been compara- 
tively uneventful. There had been no worthwhile 
coroner's inquests except that of John The Dingbat 
O'Berta, and the only other good shooting was that 
of Julius Rosenheim. The lull ended with a bang Satur- 
day, May 31st. Peter Gnolfo of the defunct Gennas, 

312 



AL CAPONE 

now with the Aiellos, fell dead with 18 sawed-off shot- 
gun slugs in his body. It was charged to the Druggan- 
Lake outfit. 

The Sabbath morn was ushered in with a triple slay- 
ing at Fox Lake, Illinois, a summer resort 50 miles 
northwest of Chicago. The dead were Sam Pellar, elec- 
tion terrorist of the Bloody Twentieth Ward, and who 
was with Hymie Weiss when Weiss was machine 
gunned; Michael Quirk, labor racketeer and bootleg- 
ger; and Joseph Bertsche, brother of Barney, gunman 
and safe-blower, who since his release from the Federal 
penitentiary at Atlanta, Georgia, had nested with the 
Frankie Lake and Terry Druggan crowd — Capone al- 
lies. The wounded were George Druggan, brother of 
Terry, and Mrs. Vivian Ponic McGinnis, wife of a 
Chicago attorney. 

These five were drinking at a table on the glassed 
in porch of a small hotel on Piskatee Lake. Out of the 
night a hundred machine-gun bullets crashed through 
the windows, and the assassins drove off in their car. 
The Druggans, rumor had it, had been muscling in 
on Fox Lake beer selling, to the exclusion of breweries 
favored by the Morans and Aiellos. 

Tuesday, June 3d, the body of Thomas Somnerio was 
found in an alley back of 831 West Harrison Street. 
His wrists were bound with wire. A welt around his 
neck indicated he had been garrotted, the wire being 
pulled tighter as his captors tried to make him sing. 
Reprisals by the Druggan-Lake crowd, said the police. 

Then Saturday of that week in the drainage canal 
at Summit, on the southwest side of the city, a passing 
tugboat churned up the body of Eugene Red Mc- 

313 



AL CAPONE 

Laughlin. His wrists were bound with telephone wire, 
and his body weighted with 75 pounds of angle iron. 
He had been shot twice through the head. McLaughlin, 
friendly with the Druggan-Lake crowd, had been ac- 
cused of four murders, and twice identified by victims 
of diamond robberies. But he had never served time. 

The body lay at the county morgue, unidentified, 
until the arrival of his brother, Robert McLaughlin, 
president of the Chicago Checker Cab Company. He 
had succeeded Joseph Wokral to the presidency. Wok- 
ral, shot in the head while seeking reelection, on his 
death-bed had named Red McLaughlin as his slayer. 

a He had been missing two weeks," said Robert Mc- 
Laughlin. "A better kid never lived ... I put up 
$20,000 reward for information leading to finding him, 
dead or alive, just among my friends ... I don't 
know ... I don't know ... He was friendly with 
them — the west side outfit . . . the north side boys 
. . . the bunch on the south side. . . „ Yes, he knew 
Al Capone . . . was friendly with him, too." 

Lingle was much interested in this case; speculated 
quite a bit about it. He knew both Red McLaughlin 
and Robert well. 

New Milford is an Illinois village 90 miles northwest 
of Chicago, in Winnebago County, near Rockford. Sun- 
day night a man drove his car into the only garage v 
stumbled out of it, fell to the floor, said to the attendant, 
"Get a doctor." 

He was Frank R. Thompson, the roustabout mystery 
man who had bought machine guns that had found 
their way to Fred Burke, and were used, the science 

314 



AL CAPONE 

of ballistics revealed, in the Moran gang massacre 
and the killing in Brooklyn of Frank Yale. Thompson, 
severely wounded, was removed to a hospital at Rock- 
ford. There he was visited by Sheriff Harry Baldwin of 
Winnebago County, who had known him for ten years. 
He tried to question Thompson. 

"Listen, Harry," said Thompson. "I've seen every- 
thing, done everything, and got everything, and you're 
smart enough to know I won't talk. Go to Hell." 

In the foregoing, the reader will note the enlarged 
scope of operations in the bootleg war. In the begin- 
ning, 1923, and for many years after, gangland in its 
shootings had confined itself solely to Chicago. In 
1930 it had overrun the entire countryside of the 
central west; its battlegrounds and hideouts including 
the choicest sections of the playground states of Wis- 
consin and Michigan, and Illinois counties far removed 
from Chicago. 

The morning of Monday, June 9th, dawned joyously 
for two winsome children — Alfred Lingle, Jr., six years 
old, and his sister, Dolores, five. Only their parents 
didn't call them by those names. They called them 
Buddy and Pansy. Trunks were packed; suitcases 
were waiting, in the home of their grandparents at 125 
North Austin Boulevard. Tomorrow they would leave 
for the new summer home in the country, by the lake, 
that their father had bought for them. 

Their father himself was in an expectant mood. He 
was going to Homewood, in the afternoon, for the race 
program at Washington Park, but today another event 
divided interest with the track. In the evening he 
would attend the dinner of 2,500 grain traders at the 

315 



AL CAPONE 

Stevens Hotel, to celebrate the opening of Chicago's 
new $22,000,000 Board of Trade, and the christening, 
as it were, of a new member of Chicago's skyscraper 
family. Attorney Silas H. Strawn was to speak. Jake's 
friend, Arthur Cutten, would be there. He would sit 
beside him. 

Then there was still another event. It had been ad- 
vertised with a flourish in a New York sports paper. 
It concerned the butter and eggy Sheridan Wave 
Tournament Club, and read: 

"J oe Y Josephs is set to go in Chicago, beginning the 
night of June 9." 

The club had had an extraordinary history. It had 
been the object of a court injunction, issued in June of 
1928, and enjoining, "Michael Hughes, commissioner 
of police of Chicago, his servants, agents and solicitors 
from annoying, molesting or in any manner interfering 
with the complainant in its lawful conduct of its mem- 
bers." 

Here again we step into that twilight zone of Lin- 
gle unknown to his office . Fact becomes rumor, hear- 
say. I shall quote from a resume story published in the 
Tribune of July 1, 1930: 

Another theory advanced places the blame for the Lingle 
murder in connection with a gambling resort at 621 Waveland 
avenue, known as the Sheridan Wave club. As the story goes, 
this place in the winter of 1 928-29 was one of the most fashion- 
able and prosperous gambling places in the city. 

A lookout's most rigid inspection through a slot in the out- 
side door preceded the players' admission. Once admitted the 
guest was not permitted to purchase food or drink. If he wanted 
a highball, it was served him free. If his tastes ran to cham- 

316 



AL CAPONE 






pagne he got champagne. Liveried lackeys served trays of 
food. 

The play ran high, many thousands of dollars being passed 
across its tables every night. It was generally known in gam- 
bling circles that the place was operated for the profit of the 
Moran gang. 

With the massacre and disintegration of the VLVLOTan gang, 
the place was closed, but ever since that time, for a year and a 
half, according to reports, strenuous efforts have been made by 
Moran gangsters to obtain official permission tfy^open. 

Recent reports have drawn Lingle into the 
the reopening of the gambling resort. The p 
charge of Joey Josephs, a well-known 
tatoes Kaufman. The latter has be 
acquaintance or friend of Lingle, and^i 
cago Daily News to have approached 
obtaining permission from the police to i 
Wave club. <x 

According to one report in the Dai^Ne 
lin, previously mentioned as having thrfea 
latter 's refusal to intercede with the polic 
on another gambling place, had been en 
gang to make a satisfactory contact with 
office. 

Then, as this Daily Ne 
man, went to a police offic^k whose 
said: 

"We have the O.K. from tti 

"It's all right if Lingle is c 
published report is authentic. 

Then, so the rumor runs, LinglJeVs sur\p&sed to have called 
upon Josephs and Kaufman and Jaeinanded 50 per cent of the 
profits, Kaufman violently refused, trie report has it, and the 
place was not opened. 

According to another report this^ifi tfte Chicago Herald & 



igotiations for 

had. been in 

LdUulian Po- 

al long-time 

ted W the Chi- 

in the hope of 

Lch tfye Sheridan 



oss McLaugh- 

Lingle for the 

in getting an okey 

ed by the Moran 

i state's attorney's 

fosephs and Kauf- 
is withheld, and 

How about you?" 
as the reply, if this 



AL CAPONE 

Examiner, Lingle demanded $15,000 in cash from the two 
gambler promoters, and when this supposed demand was re- 
fused, Lingle is reported in this rumor to have replied that, "if 
this joint is opened up, you'll see more squad cars in front 
ready to raid it, than you ever saw in your life before." 

The grand opening of the Sheridan Wave club had been 
extensively advertised, in sporting circles, as to take place the 
night of June 9, Lingle was murdered that day. The place did 
not open on that night. 

Three days before the murder, according to the Herald & 
Examiner, the detectives on the staff of State's Attorney Swan- 
son, at the direction of Investigator Roche, had raided the 
Biltmore Athletic Club, 2021 West Division street, another 
supposed gambling house. (Author's Note: This address is in 
Aiello territory.) 

Within an hour after the raid, Lingle was seeking fran- 
tically to talk with Roche over the telephone. Roche refused 
to talk with Lingle, it is said, and the reporter met Roche the 
next day. 

"You have put me in a terrible jam," Lingle told Roche, it 
is said. "I told that outfit they could run, but I didn't know they 
were going to go with such a bang." 

Lingle knew he had enemies. Attorney Louis B. 
Piquett, former city prosecutor, related an incident 
that occurred Sunday, June 8th, twenty-four hours pre- 
ceding the murder. Mr. Piquett said: 

"As has been a habit with me, I came down to the 
Loop Sunday morning. While walking down Randolph 
Street, going east, I met Lingle, whom I know well. 
We talked of the murder of Eugene Red McLaughlin, 
whose body had been taken from the drainage canal 
on Saturday. 

"Lingle was telling me his theory concerning the 
318 



AL CAPONE 

slaying when a blue sedan with two men in it stopped 
at the curb alongside us. Lingle stopped in the middle 
of a sentence, looked up at the two men in a startled 
way and they looked back at him. 

"He apparently had forgotten what he had been 
saying, for he turned suddenly, walked back the way 
he had come, hurriedly said 'Good-bye/ and entered 
a store as quickly as he could." 

Leaving the Stevens Hotel about 10:30 Monday 
morning, June 9th, Lingle went first to Tribune Tower, 
chatted awhile with the boys in the local room, then 
departed to stroll Loopward. He dropped into a State 
Street department store and bought some haberdash- 
ery and a pair of shoes for the Board of Trade dinner. 
He had luncheon in the coffee shop of the Sherman 
Hotel, at Clark and Randolph streets. He had been eat- 
ing there for years. Finished with his meal, he strolled 
into the lobby. He met Sergeant Thomas Alcock of the 
detective bureau, and said to him: 

"I'm being tailed." 

Unaccompanied, he left the Sherman, after buying 
a pocketful of cigars, about 1: 10 p. m. He had twenty 
minutes to catch his train for the Washington Park 
track, it being scheduled to leave at 1:30. Heading 
east in Randolph Street, he began the four block walk 
to Michigan Avenue, a north and south thoroughfare. 
On the southwest corner of the avenue, in the lee of 
the Chicago Public Library, he would enter the pedes- 
trian subway, and cross through it to the Illinois Cen- 
tral suburban electric railroad on the east side of the 
avenue, in Grant Park. This subway is about 100 feet 
long and 20 feet wide. Steps lead down into it at the 

319 



AL CAPONE 

west entrance, but at the east where Lingle would 
emerge, it slopes upward, ramp fashion, giving on to 
a sidewalk that extends to the station. 

The humor or whatever it is that guides gangland 
in selecting its execution sites is ghastly beyond words. 
Here was one nearly as public as that chosen for the 
assassination of Lombardo. Here the in and outgoing 
currents of traffic bottleneck; surge, and eddy in near 
confluence as they pursue their opposite courses. At 
high tide, in rush hours it is a series of human whirl- 
pools and maelstroms. It was, relatively, as if the as- 
sassins had picked Times Square subway station. 

Death was close to Jake now as the next second, 
Zuta, or whoever had planned the job of rubbing him 
out, had planned it cunningly. Whoever it was had to 
know Lingle; had to know his habits and way of 
thought; had to know enough to outsmart him; to 
frame a trap he would walk into. For here was one 
to whom killers' tricks were only another yawn. 

Six, possibly nine, even a dozen men may have par- 
ticipated. Through the stories of witnesses one can 
partly reconstruct their roles. A lookout lounged at 
the east exit. Two or three, idlers to the casual eye, 
walked post near the Illinois Central station. These 
probably knew the city's plainclothes men on sight. 
Across the avenue, on the west, the trap called for 
three men in a roadster. In the subway, after the kill- 
ing, was one in the vestments of a priest. What was 
his role? Overseer? 

Somewhere, between the Sherman and Michigan 
Avenue, two of the death crew — or so they seem to 
have been — hailed the victim. They were walking with 

320 



AL CAPONE 

him when he arrived at the west entrance of the sub- 
way. One of these wore a sailor straw hat, and a 
medium shade gray suit. He was five feet, ten inches 
in height; weight, 160 pounds; age 27 to 32 years; 
blond hair. And later he dropped, in his flight, a silk 
glove for the left hand, a precaution evidently against 
fingerprints on the gun he threw away. One remem- 
bers Mrs. Bonner's words, "A blond haired man, who 
was drunk and held his gun in his left hand." The 
other was five feet, eight inches in height; weight, 150 
pounds; age 35 years. He wore a dark blue suit and 
had dark hair. 

Lingle walks between these two. Arrived at the en- 
trance he buys a Racing Form. A roadster darts up 
to the curb, on the south side of Randolph Street, in 
front of the public library steps. Its horn is blowing 
to attract Lingle's attention. That much was seen by 
Armour Lapansee, a superintendent for the Yellow Cab 
company. He told the police: 

"Three men were in the roadster. Two other men 
apparently were with Lingle. One of the men in the 
roadster called to Lingle: 

" 'Play Hy Schneider in the third!' 

"Lingle waved his hand and grinned, and replied, 
'I've got him.' 

" 'He walked down the steps into the subway. A 
few seconds later I heard the shot." 

Play Hy Schneider! 

Was that "the finger"? Or was it a signal to the 
death crew, that Lingle was alone; no friends near? 

Mechanically puffing his cigar, holding the Racing 
Form outspread, Lingle entered the subway. He walked 

321 



AL CAPONE 

slowly, oblivious to people. Dr. Joseph Springer, a 
former coroner's physician and a friend of long stand- 
ing, passed him. He was headed west. Lingle didn't see 
him. 

"He was reading the race information," said Dr. 
Springer. "He was holding it before him with both 
hands and smoking a cigar." 

Lingle was almost out of the subway. He had passed 
under the avenue, and was within 25 feet of the east 
exit. There is, as one approaches the exit, a stairway 
from the right side of the subway up to the sidewalk 
on the east side of the avenue. At the foot of the 
stairway is a news stand. As Lingle came abreast of, 
and passed this news stand, the dark man with him 
stopped as if to buy a newspaper. As he did, the blond 
man dropped behind Lingle; his left hand, holding 
the .38 snub-barreled Colt shot forward, and as the 
muzzle grazed the back of Lingle's neck, he fired a 
single bullet. It ranged upward, into the brain to come 
out the forehead. Lingle pitched forward on his face — 
his half smoked cigar between his teeth, the Racing 
Form clutched in his hands. Death was instantaneous. 

The blond killer first ran west, then doubled back, 
past Lingle's body, and ran out through the east exit. 
He hurdled a fence, and again doubled his course to 
return to Michigan Avenue. He crossed it, ran west in 
Randolph Street to an alley that angles into Wabash 
Avenue. He turned into this alley, and was soon lost 
in the Wabash Avenue crowds. Traffic Policeman 
Anthony Ruthy, stationed at Randolph and Michigan, 
responding to a woman's cry of, "Get that man," pur- 

322 



AL CAPONE 

sued him to Wabash Avenue, but was outdistanced. 
The left handed glove discarded in the alley was picked 
up by Harry Komen, 1506 South 60th Street. 

In the subway immediately after assassination, Pat- 
rick Campbell of 6840 Essex Avenue saw the dark 
haired man running toward the west entrance, and 
strangely enough, as Campbell involuntarily quickened 
his own pace, "a priest bumped into me. I asked him, 
'What's the matter?' and he answered, 'I think some 
one has been shot, and I am going to get out of here.' " 

"No," said Lieutenant William Cusack of the de- 
tective bureau, "he was no priest. A priest would never 
do that. He would have gone to the side of the stricken 
person." 

The gods were kind to Jake. He died as he had lived 
— on the sidewalks of Chicago. The end of the trail was 
the end of the Rial to he had strolled for 20 years. 
In his ears was the roar of the Loop. About him the 
milling crowds. Above him his old buddies, the sky- 
scrapers. 

End of the trail? Or is it the beginning? Is it that he 
is out there, somewhere, on that assignment — the 
embers of the cigar glowing — becoming brighter — 
brighter — illuminating dark places — shining — gleam- 
ing — a beacon — until some night, as editors and copy 
readers go marching down to put the home edition to 
bed, the city desk phone will ring, and Tony Steger 
shall answer it? And a voice shall ask: 

"Anything doin', Tony?" 

And Tony, sitting there under the serene gaze of 

323 



AL CAPONE 

Durkin — Tribune tradition — will lift his strident 

basso profundo to a pitch to be heard from all the 
housetops: 
"Okey, Jake." 



324 



PART SEVEN 

6 * TOURING the last two years I've been trying to 
I 3 get out, but once in the racket you're always 
in. The parasites trail you wherever you go, begging 
for favors and money, and you can never get away 
from them — no matter where you go. 

"You fear death every moment. Worse than death, 
you fear the rats of the game, who would run and tell 
the police if you didn't constantly satisfy them with 
favors. I never was able to leave my home without a 
bodyguard." 

General Al the Scarface, puffing away at a fat cigar, 
was sitting in the office of Major Lemuel B. Schofield, 
director of public safety of Philadelphia, relating the 
success story of a gangster. It was midnight of May 16, 
1929. He and his bodyguard, Slippery Frank Rio, 
stealthy visitors in Boo-Boo Hoff's home town, had 
been pinched for gun-toting as they left a movie theater. 
They were to be sentenced to serve a year in prison, 
but they did not know that yet. 

"I haven't had peace of mind in years," Capone was 
saying. "I never know when I'm going to get it. Even 
when I'm on a peace errand, I take a chance on the light 
going suddenly out. I must hide from the rest of the 
racketeers to the point of concealing my identity under 
an assumed name, in hotels and elsewhere, when trav- 
eling. 

325 



AL CAPONE 

"I have a wife and an eleven-year-old boy I idolize, 
at Palm Island, Florida. If I could go there and forget 
it all, I would be the happiest 'man in the world. I want 
peace, and I'm willing to live and let live. I'm tired of 
gang murders and gang shootings." 

For a week he had been sequestered at the President 
Hotel, Atlantic City, talking shop with other Chicago 
gangsters. There had been, at his suggestion, a new 
truce, a disarmament conference. There was to be no 
more bloodshed, no more machine gunning. All the dele- 
gates had "signed on the dotted line" in a defensive al- 
liance against their common enemies, the stool pigeons 
and the police. 

Apparently, after nearly three years, Maxie' Eisen's 
sage wisecrack, " We're a bunch of saps killing each 
other, and giving the cops a laugh," had penetrated. 

Corporation efficiency methods were to be applied to 
the industry of booze, rackets, vice, and gambling. An 
executive council had been organized, with Johnny 
Torrio as chairman of the board. 

"What are you doing now, Al?" queried Major Scho- 
field. 

"I'm retired." 

He meant he was trying to retire. 

"I asked him," said the major, "if there was any con- 
nection between the Philadelphia and Chicago liquor 
rings, and he answered smilingly, 'Well, there are con- 
nections, of course. The situation as revealed by the 
grand jury of this city [Philadelphia], bad as it was, 
was nothing to compare to Chicago.' " 

Capone's presence in Philadelphia has never been 
satisfactorily explained. So far as Chicago was con- 

326 



AL CAPONE 

cerned he had been A.W.O.L. for ten days, had dropped 
from sight as completely as if the earth had yawned 
and swallowed him. 

" Three of my friends have been bumped off in the last 
two weeks," he told Major Schofield. 

"From reports I received," said Mayor Harry A. 
Mackey of Philadelphia, "Capone was running away 
from a gang which was out to kill him." 

Al, his bodyguard, and his $50,000 eleven and one- 
half carat diamond ring spent the night under lock and 
key, to breakfast the next morning on boloney, dry 
bread, and coffee ; then to appear at the detective bureau 
for scrutiny and questioning by Captain Andrew 
Emanuel and his squad. 

"You are charged with being a suspicious character 
and with carrying concealed deadly weapons," said 
Captain Emanuel. "What have you to say?" 

"Oh, nothing, nothing," and Al laughed. 

"Were you ever arrested before?" 

"Once before." 

"For what?" 

"For carrying concealed weapons, in Joliet, Illinois. 
I was discharged." 

"Do any time?" 

"No." " 

"Weren't you arrested in New York?" 

"Yes, eighteen years ago — pardon me; I'm a little 
twisted. I guess I'm not fully awake. I was arrested in 
New York about three or four years ago. I was picked 
up there on suspicion of murder, but I was discharged. 
I was also arrested in Olean, New York, on a disorderly 
conduct charge, but I was discharged." 

327 



AL CAPONE 

"You have never done any time, anywhere?" 

"No, not a minute." 

Within sixteen and a half hours after their arrest, 
Capone and Rio were on their way to begin serving then- 
year's prison term — Capone to become No. 90725 at 
Holmesburg County jail and later No. 5527-C at 
Eastern Penitentiary. He and his counsel had not 
reckoned on the ideas of magisterial duty of Judge 
John E. Walsh of the criminal division of the municipal 
court. They had entered pleas of guilty to the gun-toting 
charge with the expectation of a three months' sentence. 
Capone was astounded. 

Back in Chicago, Police Commissioner William F. 
Russell (the title of chief had been abolished) was 
grinning as broadly as if he had made the hole-in-one 
club. 

"That's certainly great news," he was telling every- 
body. 

John Stege, his able deputy commissioner, was ex- 
plaining a fundamental reason for the helplessness of 
the police against gangsters with political drags and 
money to retain high-pressure lawyers: 

"I've arrested Capone a half-dozen times, and each 
time found guns on him. The same goes for a hundred 
other gangsters around town. But what happens? 

"The minute you get them before a municipal court 
judge, the defense attorney makes a motion to suppress 
the evidence. The policeman is cross-examined, and if 
he admits he didn't have a warrant for the man's arrest 
on a charge of carrying concealed weapons, the judge 
declares the arrest illegal and the hoodlum is dis- 
charged. 

328 



AL CAPONE 

"The law should be changed so that a policeman 
won't have to have a warrant — which would be so radical 
an innovation as to be practically impossible — to arrest 
notorious gangsters who infest the city's streets with 
their guns in armpit holsters or side pockets, ready to 
shoot at the slightest provocation." 

Much had happened since Capone had gone A.W.O.L. 
Gangland justice, swift, merciless, but retributive, had 
rid the State's attorney's docket of the Scalise indict- 
ment in the Moran case — seven charges of murder — 
by ridding the world of Scalise, and of Albert Anselmi 
and Joseph Guinta at the same time. 

The farewell to arms of this trio of inseparables was 
lurid melodrama. They were put on the spot by their 
own crowd at a private dinner presumably given in their 
honor, if the story the underworld pipe-line finally de- 
livered is reliable, and it generally is. The means they 
had so often employed with their victims was used 
against them — the simulated brotherly love, the unctu- 
ous guile of the smiling lip and lying tongue. 

The reader is sufficiently acquainted with Scalise and 
Anselmi, dubbed the Homicide Squad. He has seen 
them taking the unsuspecting Mike Genna for a ride, 
battling the police, killing Officers Harold F. Olson 
and Charles B. Walsh. He has heard them named in the 
O'Banion, Weiss, and Moran cases. 

Guinta, like them a torpedo, was a Brooklynite, a 
Uale man, in 1925, when Antonio Lombard© brought 
him to Chicago to help run the Unione Sicilione. Lom- 
bardo had not yet quarreled with the Aiellos, and Ca- 
pone was still friendly with Uale. Guinta was to pro- 
mote good-will for the new president and keep the home 

329 



AL CAPONE 

stills burning. He made himself indispensable to Lom- 
bardo and popular with the Sicilians. Sharp-witted, glib, 
ingratiating, he was an easy mixer in the social and 
business life of the colony. 

His jaunty temerity pleased the men, and his smirk- 
ing flattery the women. He was single and twenty-two. 
An unappeasable yen for dancing possessed him. The 
confraternity marveled that his feet did not blister. He 
was jazz mad. His elegant little person, compact of 
gimp and muscle, was, when inspirited by the grape and 
the ululating saxophone, motion lyricized. His zeal was 
dionysiac. He was bacchanalian. Few were the eve- 
nings he was not stepping in tuxedo and pumps at 
cabaret or night club — unless the Sicilians happened to 
be giving an affair. The underworld called him the 
"Hop Toad." 

His following was so strong by 1929 that when Pas- 
qualino Lolordo was killed in January of that year, he 
succeeded him — the fifth president of the Unione since 
Mike Merlo's death in 1924. For Guinta, as for his 
predecessors, the office represented the fulfillment of 
ambition — the reward of years of plotting, bickering, 
and intriguing. For him, as for the others, the fact that 
occupancy of it was about as safe as sitting on a keg of 
gunpowder with a lighted fuse attached made no dif- 
ference. 

The bullet-plugged bodies of Scalise, Anselmi, and 
Guinta were found early Wednesday morning, May 8, 
1929, twenty miles southeast of the Loop, across the 
Illinois State line, in Indiana, near Wolf Lake, in the 
town of Hammond. Those of Scalise and Guinta were 

330 



AL CAPONE 

in the rear seat of an abandoned car, which had been 
nosed into a ditch. That of Anselmi lay twenty feet 
away. Each had been severely beaten before being shot. 

Surmise dallied for weeks with this case, which, as 
the reader will note, was outside the jurisdiction of the 
Chicago and Cook County authorities. The pipe-line 
story was that the three had been guilty of treachery; 
that they had conspired to seize control of the $60,000,- 
000-a-year liquor monopoly, and, with Guinta bossing 
the Unione, rule as a triumvirate; that Scalise had 
offered a Capone gunman $50,000 to kill the Scarface. 

Rash Scalise. Better punks than he had incurred in- 
quests trying that. 

Gangland's humor is ghastly and sardonic. No truer 
example of it can be cited than the seating of the schem- 
ing torpedoes as guests of honor at what was to be their 
last meal on earth. The dinner was said to have been 
held in a Torrio roadhouse, near Hammond, and to 
have been allowed to proceed to a bibulous and roister- 
ing end before the toastmaster rose, bowed to the guests, 
and said : 

"This is the way we deal with traitors." 

In one-two-three order, Scalise, Anselmi, and Guinta 
were bludgeoned with what is described as a sawed-off 
baseball bat, and then shot to death as they sat in their 
chairs. 

Dr. Eli S. Jones, conducting a post-mortem for the 
Lake County coroner, partly confirmed the story in his 
report that "the three men apparently were seated at a 
table when their killers surprised them. Scalise threw 
up his hand to cover his face and a bullet cut off his 

331 



AL CAPONE 

little finger , crashing into his eye. Another bullet crashed 
into his jaw and he fell from his chair. 

"Meanwhile, the other killers — there must have been 
three or four — had fired on Guinta and Anselmi, dis- 
abling them. Anselmi's right arm was broken by a bullet. 
When their victims fell to the floor, their assailants stood 
over them and fired several shots into their backs." 

No indictments were ever voted in this case. 

"You can figure out gangdom's murders and at- 
tempted murders with pencil and paper, but not with a 
judge and jury," observed Deputy Commissioner Stege. 

The bodies of Scalise and Anselmi were shipped to 
Sicily, but Guinta was buried in Mount Carmel Ceme- 
tery, in his tuxedo and dancing pumps. 

The police theory is that Capone in Philadelphia was 
fleeing Sicilian vengeance, which coincides with the in- 
formation received by Mayor Mackey of that city that 
he "was running away from a gang that was out to 
kill him." He was eager to save his skin; to "go in a 
hole" for a while; otherwise he would have fought the 
gun-toting charge. He had been advised that the best 
strategy was to "take a rap," but, as one of his associ- 
ates remarked after Judge Walsh had imposed sen- 
tence : 

"Al figured on taking a rap and he took a kayo." 

The benign providence that had fostered the Capone 
career from the bouncer days of the Four Deuces exerted 
its ubiquitous influence in prison. He and Rio were 
soon transferred from the Holmesburg jail, which has 
a reputation for rigorous discipline, to Eastern Peni- 
tentiary, where Al had his own cell and was permitted 

332 



AL CAPONE 

to make long-distance telephone calls and to use the 
warden's office for transacting business with his at- 
torneys, Bernard Lemisch and Congressman Benjamin 
M. Golder of Philadelphia. 

Regular trips East to confer with them were made 
by his chief aides — Jack Guzik, Frank Nitti, Mike 
Carozza of the Street Cleaners' Union, and Al's brother, 
Ralph Bottles Capone. The conferences were held some- 
times in Mr. Lemisch's offices, sometimes at Atlantic 
City. Johnny Torrio commuted by plane twice a month 
to Chicago from Brooklyn, in which latter city he had 
settled permanently, finding its climate more salubrious 
than that of Chicago. 

Al's status in the commonwealth was attested by his 
counsel in the efforts to regain his freedom. Only the 
most expensive Latin words and phrases — like "pro- 
thonotary" and "coram nobis" — were used in the peti- 
tions, something no lawyer does unless the fee is proper 
and the client important. 

Al's geniality, his boundless sympathy for the un- 
fortunate and the under-dog, and his Uncle Bim munifi- 
cence, won the instant esteem of the penitentiary 
inmates. His first act was to buy $1,000 worth of their 
handiwork — inlaid boxes, ship models, cigarette cases, 
figurines, and other such trinkets. These he mailed to 
acquaintances about the country. Someone told him of 
a Philadelphia orphanage in rather straitened circum- 
stances, and he sent it $1,200. At Christmas time he 
was the life of the party for the gray-clad humans who 
are no longer men, but numbers. 

Yes, Al made friends, among them Dr. Herbert M. 
333 



AL CAPONE 

Goddard of the Pennsylvania State Board of prison in- 
spectors, who removed his tonsils and operated on his 
nose. 

"I can't believe all they say of him," declared the doc- 
tor, a few days before Capone's release. "In my seven 
years' experience, I have never seen a prisoner so kind, 
cheery, and accommodating. He does his work — that of 
file clerk — faithfully and with a high degree of intel- 
ligence. He has brains. He would have made good any- 
where, at anything. 

"He has been an ideal prisoner. I cannot estimate the 
money he has given away. Of course, we cannot inquire 
where he gets it. He's in the racket. He admits it. 

"But you can't tell me he's all bad, after I have seen 
him many times a week for ten months, and seen him 
with his wife and his boy and mother." 

Perhaps a sociologist of speculative bent would apply 
the Dr. Jekyll-Mr. Hyde parallel to Capone — only in 
the objective instead of the subjective sense; that is to 
say, he might conceive of a personal Capone, and a 
police Capone, "and never the twain shall meet." He 
would find in the personal Capone a man much ma- 
ligned — a wholly delightful fellow, who could talk in- 
terestingly of many things, not the least of them grand 
opera; whose heart is as big as all outdoors; whose 
way through life has been strewn with deeds of kind- 
ness for the sick and needy. 

Be that as it may, Al's stay in Eastern Penitentiary, 
whether or not he realized it, was the happiest period 
of his career. In the circumscribed world of its stone 
walls, in his convict's garb, he won the freedom he had 
so long desired — freedom from fear of "the light's go- 

334 



AL CAPONE 

ing suddenly out." He had peace of mind. He could sleep 
nights. 

A statement he made to an official has a bearing on 
this story. It was that he had established connection 
with booze-running rings in Philadelphia, Atlantic City, 
and New York City, to interlink with his Chicago and 
Detroit organizations. The reader will recall that this 
project was outlined in the description of Francesco 
Uale. 

A further substantiation of it came from former Police 
Commissioner Richard E. Enright of New York City, 
in a reference during his campaign for mayor in the 
fall of 1929. 

"The principal Capone lieutenant here," he said, 
"operates five trucks, nine limousines, and two boats 
in bootlegging activities. In some instances, police ride 
the beer trucks to protect them from hijackers." 

The one prominent captain of industry who not only 
has no press agent, but shrinks from publicity as dif- 
fidently as the violet by its mossy stone, Al, even in 
prison, was denied the boon of remaining half hidden 
from the eye. The pitiless spot was kept turned full 
upon him, whenever possible. Thus: 

"CAPONE GAINS ELEVEN POUNDS" 
"CAPONE RESIGNED: WON'T ASK PARDON" 
"CAPONE READS LIFE OF NAPOLEON" 
"CAPONE DOESN'T GO TO CHURCH ON 
SUNDAY" 

"CAPONE PICKS CUBS TO WIN 1930 FLAG" 
A newspaper sent a reporter to investigate an ex- 
clusive tip that he had bought a second-hand ship from 
the Government, paying $150,000 cash; that he was 

335 



AL CAPONE 

having it remodeled and refitted as a seagoing restaurant 
and cabaret, to be anchored off the Florida coast, beyond 
the twelve-mile limit; that he had retained the "best 
chef" in Philadelphia; and that he would have two sea- 
planes to carry cash customers from prohibition to 
champagne dinners in two minutes. The reporter 
couldn't verify it. 

"Too beautiful to be true, anyway," commented the 
philosophical editor. 

The hoodlum of 1920 had become page-one news, 
copy for the magazines, material for talkie plots and 
vaudeville gags. Jack Dempsey had shaken hands with 
him. McCutcheon had cartooned him. 

Chicago's Exhibit A had become America's Exhibit 
A. Al had grown from civic to national stature. He was 
an institution. He had been put in the family album of 
notabilia, with its diversified Americana: 

Will Rogers. 

Henry Ford. 

Rin Tin Tin. 

Childs. 

One-Eyed Connolly. 

Jimmy Walker. 

Mabel Willebrandt. 

Babe Ruth. 

O. O. Mclntyre. 

Senator Heflin. 

Farm Relief. 

Arthur Brisbane. 

California Climate. 

Blood Pressure. 

The 4 Marxes. 

336 



AL CAPONE 

Lindbergh. 

Doug and Mary. 

Congress. 

Tex Guinan. 

Forty-second and Broadway. 

Cal. 

White Rock. 

Bromo Seltzer and The Specialist. 

Al Smith. 
Al had outlasted four chiefs of police, two municipal 
administrations, three United States district attorneys, 
and a regiment of Federal prohibition agents; he had 
survived innumerable crime drives, grand jury investi- 
gations, reform crusades, clean-up election campaigns, 
police shake-ups, and Congressional inquiries and de- 
bates. He was like the man in the repetitive poem: 

The battle of the Nile, 
I was there all the while, 
I was there all the while, 
At the battle of the Nile, 
The battle of the Nile, 
I was there all the while, 
I was . . . 

His truce and disarmament conference did not func- 
tion as advertised. There were some thirty gangster 
killings in 1929, and in the spring of 1930, John Ding- 
bat O'Berta, bantam pal of Polack Joe Saltis, rounded 
out his little crowded hour. Once again the former Mrs. 
Big Tim was in mourning, the crape band on her bon- 
net signifying her second service-stripe in the bootleg- 
racketeer war. 

337 



AL CAPONE 

For the genesis of his passing we must visit the Ger- 
man Deaconess Hospital, where, on the night of 
February 24th, in a flower-banked room, lay Frank 
McErlane, recovering from a fracture of the right leg, 
caused by a bullet above the knee. He had been there 
since January 28th. The leg, suspended in midair by 
weights and pulleys, was encased in a plaster cast. 

McErlane, rated a dangerous gunman, has been 
named nine times by the coroner in gangster killings. 
He was tried for murder in Indiana, and acquitted. He 
was indicted in the George Spot Bucher-Georgia 
Meeghan double killing, but the charges were dismissed. 
He was originally allied with Saltis in that Balkans of 
prohibition Chicago, the back of the yards district, but 
they quarreled over profits and became bitter enemies, 
McErlane enlisting with the South Side O'Donnells — 
or what was left of them. 

On this February night, about 10:30 o'clock, while 
his nurse was absent from the room, which is on the 
second floor, two men entered and opened fire. Mc- 
Erlane, bound rigidly to the bed as in a vise, drew a 
.38 from under his pillow and replied with five bullets, 
splintering a panel of the door. The intruders emptied 
their revolvers at him and fled. Their aim was poor. 
They scored only three hits, wounding him painfully, 
but not fatally. 

"Who were they?" McErlane was asked. 

"Shoo, shoo! Just say the war's on again. It's been 
brewing since last November. You'll know all about it 
in two weeks." 

Ten days, to be exact. The Dingbat and his chauffeur. 
Sam Malaga, were taken for a ride in his own Lincoln 

33$ 






AL CAPONE 

sedan the night of Wednesday, March 5th. The killers 
— three, apparently — had posed as friends, sitting in the 
rear seat. They had used a sawed-off shotgun and re- 
volvers with soft-nosed bullets. 

The Dingbat had gone to his death fighting. He had 
not had a chance to draw his .45 automatic, which, 
cocked but with the safety set, and a clip of seven car- 
tridges in the magazine, was found in his right outside 
overcoat pocket. He had let the assassins have three 
slugs, however, from his belly-gun, before he dropped. 
This weapon was a .38, with the barrel sawed down 
to one-inch length, and its purpose explains its name. 
It was for thrusting into a foeman's abdomen quietly 
and unobtrusively when occasion demanded. He car- 
ried it in a trick holder, inside his left sleeve, for a 
lightning draw. 

Fifteen thousand back-of-the-yards folks attended 
the Dingbat's two-day wake — and a grand one it was — 
and followed his casket to Holy Sepulchre Cemetery, 
where the stately, blonde, and dimpled Widow Murphy- 
O'Berta had it placed next the grave of her six-foot-four 
Big Tim. She and the Dingbat had first met in June of 
1928, when he was a pallbearer at Big Tim's funeral. 
The two men sleep side by side, in the hands of each his 
rosary. 

"They were good men," said the Widow Murphy- 
O'Berta. 

Hustling papers when he was eight to support his 
widowed mother; soaking up guttersnipe wisdom; learn- 
ing the law of the street and the alley, that might with 
the fist makes right; fifteen when* the United States 
entered the World War; eighteen when back of the 

339 



AL CAPONE 

yards began buzzing with talk of the new big dough 
racket — a cinch — just peddling beer to neighborhood 
saloons. About that time he met Joe Saltis. 

As a specimen of the bootleg clinic, the Dingbat was 
a rara avis. Chicago will not look upon his busy like 
again. In his multifarious activities, we see him as 
honorary member of Post No. 1489 of the Veterans of 
Foreign Wars — "a testimonial banquet to Comrade 
O'Berta." 

We see him as the rising young politician, entertain- 
ing, with that large flourish peculiar to him, the con- 
stituency at outdoor parties at Justice Park — free hot 
dogs, free drinks, free everything — another "testimonial 
picnic to our leading citizen, the People's Candidate." 

We see him as the civic patriot, earnestly haranguing 
the Stockyards' Business Men's Association at a noon- 
day luncheon, urging the need for public improvements 
of the district, assuring them, "I will see that Ashland 
Avenue is widened." 

We see him in riding togs on the bridle paths of Hot 
Springs, Arkansas; in plus fours and Scotch tweed cap 
on the links around Chicago — golf clubs slung over 
shoulder, belly-gun handy in its trick holder in the left 
sleeve. 

We see him thrown in the can time and again by the 
cops as hoodlum and thug; we see him running for State 
senator, for alderman, for Republican committeeman 
of the Thirteenth Ward — he would have run for mayor 
if he had felt that way. 

The Dingbat was gorgeous satire, caricature, bur- 
lesque. All the futility of life's fret and strut was in 
him. 

340 



AL CAPONS 

In the Pineapple Primary campaign of April, 1928, 
he was elected ward committeeman, his principal op- 
ponent being Hugh Norris, America First candidate. 
He served until a few days before his death, when a 
court decision, sustaining charges of polls terrorism 
and fraudulent voting, awarded the office to Norris. 

For almost a year, though, the Dingbat sat with his 
peers on the Cook County Republican central com- 
mittee — sat with him, but not as one of them. He was 
snubbed, ostracized, ignored. The pious brethren — the 
majority of them Homer K. Galpin's old mates — were 
distressed and scandalized and pained beyond measure 
that this gangster person should have been admitted 
to their councils. They drew in the skirts of their gar- 
ments and passed him with averted eyes. It was a con- 
tretemps for Frangois Villon's pen. 

Joe Saltis was absent from the city when the Dingbat 
was killed. Deputy Commissioner Stege had "put the 
heat" on for him. Could he come back? 

"I want to go to his funeral. I picked O'Berta up as a 
newsboy and made a man of him." 

"You'll have to report to me if you do," was Stege's 
ultimatum. "I want to talk with you." 

Stege decided that the moment was opportune to 
talk also with George Bugs Moran and Spike O'Donnell 
— to hold a reunion, as it were, of the Veterans of Local 
Wars. 

Wherefore, on Monday, March 10th, Stege drew up 
chairs for the Messrs. Saltis, Moran, and O'Donnell. 

Said Polack Joe: 

"I got a fine country home and farm at Saltisville, on 
Barker Lake, Wisconsin. I'm out of the racket. I got 

341 



AL CAPONE 

mine all in a pile and I got $100,000 sunk in my farm— 
a nine-hole golf course, a clubhouse that sleeps twenty- 
six people, ponies, deer, plenty of fishing." 

"How come the place is named Saltisville?" queried 
Stege. 

"I named it," explained Joe. "It's honorary now, but 
we're going to make it stick. You see, there are only 
sixty-two voters in the township, and I got twenty-six 
of them working for me. I'm going to hire five more, 
which will give me majority control. At the election this 
spring when we ballot on it, I'll have enough to put it 
across. What I want is for my kids to be able to look in 
the United States Postal Guide and see their town, 
Saltisville. Okey, chief?" 

Okey. Joe was one up on Capone. Miami hadn't even 
named a street for Al. 

George Bugs' turn next. Said he: 

"I'm in the cleaning and dyeing business. I've got 
$125,000 invested. I've been made president of the 
Central Cleaners and Dyers Association." 

Straight as a poker for all his years, Spike O'Donnell 
then spoke his piece — Spike, for whom six State sen- 
ators, five State representatives, and a judge of the 
criminal court of Cook County had interceded with a 
governor for a parole. Said he : 

"Don't you know, chief? I'm in the fuel business 
now. I got $50,000 sunk in it. Why, I deliver coal right 
here to the detective bureau and to the City Hall and the 
County Building." 

The reunion adjourned sine die. 

Certain other oddities, ironies, irrelevancies — call 
342 



AL CAPONE 

them what you will — divert the looker-on in prohibition 
Chicago: 

Mrs. Eleanor Weber, filing suit for divorce against 
State Representative Charles H. Weber of the sixth 
district, on the Northwest Side, the city, listing as as- 
sets: 

1 brewery at 2922 Southport Avenue. 

1 gambling house at 2924 Southport Avenue. 

1 speakeasy at 2924 Southport Avenue. 

1 roadhouse in Irving Park Boulevard. 

1 Rolls-Royce automobile. 

1 Minerva automobile. 

1 yacht valued at $65,000. 

1 speedboat valued at $25,000. 

1 speedboat valued at $16,000. 

Mrs. Myrtle Tanner Blacklidge, collector of internal 
revenue, trying to collect $500,000 in back income taxes 
from Terry Druggan and Frankie Lake of the Cook 
County beerage; driving to Terry's palatial Sonola 
Farm, near Lake Zurich, Illinois, to slap a lien on it; 
learning it was in Terry's mamma's name ; that all Terry 
owned was the cows. "You can have the cows," said 
Terry, but Mrs. Blacklidge couldn't use the cows. Next 
move, a lien on the Druggan-Lake brewery, at 1225 
South Campbell Avenue — the idea being that the Gov- 
ernment could auction it off and net a pretty penny. 
It auctioned it. Nobody bid. The Government bought 
it in for $1. Representing Druggan now was William F. 
Waugh, in 1924 an assistant United States district at- 
torney. 

Congressman M. Alfred Michaelson of Chicago, who 
343 



AL CAPONE 

votes dry and has Anti-Saloon League support, return- 
ing from Cuba with six trunks — all passed at Key West 
without customs inspection — one of which springs a 
leak and is found to contain thirteen bottles of liquor. 

State Street; a mile of bootlegging auxiliaries; the 
window displays of its great stores and shops, espe- 
cially during the holidays, presenting a congeries of 
cocktail shakers, silver hip flasks, hollow canes, and 
other subterfuge devices, wine sets, decanters, decora- 
tive whiskey kegs, home-brew outfits, etc. ; a violation 
of the spirit of the law as flagrant as if the merchants 
sold, say, opium-smoking outfits, but having the sanc- 
tion of public opinion — and public demand. 

Chicago's high schools, around which speakeasies 
thrive. They have been the objects of crusades and 
police activities, but they mushroom back again, in their 
various guises as sandwich counters, stationery stores, 
soda fountains, and tearooms. They cater exclusively to 
the students, boys and girls. One investigation uncov- 
ered five near Senn High School; six near Hyde Park 
High School, and six near Englewood High School. The 
three are outstanding as representative institutions of 
their kind. 

Evanston, birthplace and national headquarters of 
the Woman's Christian Temperance Union, and home 
of Charles G. Dawes, where gin may be purchased within 
live minutes of the campus of Northwestern University 
and moon is plentiful; where the hip flask has become 
an appurtenance of class proms and fraternity and so- 
rority dances and social affairs. Northwestern, situated 
on the western shore of Lake Michigan, may be said to 
be rimmed, crescent-wise, by booze joints — nests of 

344 



AL CAPONE 

roadhouses easily reached on boulevard highways. Out 
Davis Street, a short ride from the Evanston High 
School, is a notorious petting farm, so called, patronized 
largely by the high-school students. A section of the 
first floor of the ramshackle dwelling has been equipped 
as a cafe, with a mechanical piano. Gin is sold. The 
cafe is generally empty, the patrons sitting in their 
cars, there being unlimited parking space in an old 
orchard. 

These things we mention because they serve further 
to explain Capone, to mitigate him, and to remind many, 
many estimable citizens who go to church on Sunday, 
and who are wont to uplift their hands in sanctimonious 
horror at his name, that much of the phenomenon yclept 
Capone begins, like charity, at home. 

Item: Less than one per cent of a thirtieth of Chi- 
cago's population commits its crime and perpetrates its 
predatory racketeering — with the collusion of crooked 
politicians. Chicago is a magnificent ship, sailing a stead- 
fast course for its port of destiny — but with a few rats in 
the hold. 

Capone, his sentence commuted to ten months for 
good behavior, left Eastern Penitentiary, Monday, 
March 17th, to receive a confidential request from in- 
fluential Chicago friends to "lay low, and go easy. We're 
organizing for an important election campaign; we want 
to get set for World's Fair year." 

The Capone picture is never in focus with the reali- 
ties. They merge into it to lose their factual identities 
and regularities of form as in a side-show distortion mir- 
ror, then to leer back in preposterous travesty, hoaxing 

345 



AL CAPONE 

reason and mocking the data of common sense. The pic- 
ture is theatrical. It is Gilbert and Sullivan extrav- 
aganza without the music. The prison exit is typical. In 
some respects it outdoes the Count of Monte Cristo. 

Dumas 's opulent imagination could do no better for 
Edmund D antes in his getaway from the dungeon in the 
Chateau dTf than to summon the aid of another felon. 
Capone, surreptitiously departing from his cell, with 
its $500 radio, its pair of easy chairs, its reading shelf, 
table, tufted rug, and other hotel comforts, had the co- 
operation of a warden, Herbert B. Smith, a governor, 
John S. Fisher, and the Philadelphia police department. 
Dantes went out stitched in a sack, Capone tucked 
in the rear seat of a motor car. Dantes was fleeing fur- 
ther penal servitude, which was logical; Capone was 
being spared the ordeal of curious stares and reportorial 
Q. and A., which was Gilbert and Sullivan. 

Consider: The established procedure in discharging a 
convict from a penitentiary is to give him his new suit, 
and his gratuity — generally $5 — swing open the gate 
and be rid of him. What befalls him then is his own 
worry. Capone was actually freed from Eastern Peni- 
tentiary twenty-four hours before the expiration of his 
sentence, smuggled out in the warden's automobile Sun- 
day evening, and conveyed to Graters Ford, thirty miles 
distant, to await 4 o'clock of Monday afternoon. 

An elaborate deception was practiced. Squads of city 
police patrolled the street in front of the prison, roping 
off a space for a block to keep the crowds back. Motor- 
cycle police were stationed as if in readiness for a con- 
voy. Bulletins were fed at intervals to the hungry and 
unsuspecting correspondents and newsreel men, telling 

346 



AL CAPONE 

of Capone's impatience, of the uncertainty as to when 
the commutation papers would arrive from Harrisburg, 
the capital — the governor had been late signing them; 
they had not been put in the mail for Philadelphia until 
Monday afternoon. As a matter of fact, Warden Smith 
had driven to Harrisburg and obtained the governor's 
signature, and the papers were in the hands of the secre- 
tary of the pardon and parole board. 

The deception was maintained until 8 o'clock Mon- 
day night, thus allowing Capone a four-hour start in the 
game of hare and hounds with the gentlemen of the 
press, and seriously impairing their professional dignity. 
Warden Smith, standing beside the prison gate, broke 
the news in these words : 

"We stuck one in your eye that time. The big guy's 
gone." 

Committed as a gun-toting hoodlum, he had been dis- 
charged as a prisoner of state. 

However much solicitude for Capone the individual 
may have been indicated in the unprecedented manner 
of his release, just as much undoubtedly was indicated 
for Capone the problem. That phase of him becomes 
increasingly evident — and increasingly embarrassing 
to the harassed authorities. It was attested in the Chi- 
cago welcome program, arranged by Deputy Commis- 
sioner Stege. For three days and nights — Tuesday, 
Wednesday, and Thursday — a detail of twenty-five of- 
ficers was posted at his home, 7244 Prairie Avenue, in 
anticipation of his return. Of course he didn't return 
there. So what the vigil resolved itself into was a 
seventy-two hour surveillance of two women and a 
couple of children. 

347 



AL CAPONE 

No indictments had been voted against Capone, no 
charges filed; his status was as it had always been. Stege, 
on the record in the Chicago and Cook County courts, 
was without warrant in law for molesting him. He could 
not have arrested him for disorderly conduct and made 
it stick. The wise Stege knew that. He did not have to 
be reminded by Thomas D. Nash of the highest-priced 
firm of criminal lawyers in town (and there is never an 
unemployment situation for such when AFs around), 
"My client has legal rights." 

What then? 

This : Al was the local bogey man. Somebody had to 
say boo. 

Al was as painfully and resentfully conscious of 
Capone the problem — "Capone, the Nineteenth Amend- 
ment," as an English editor put it — as were the author- 
ities : 

"There's a lot of grief attached to this limelight." 

The mad welter of circumstances that had combined 
to hoist him, Humpty Dumpty like, to the top of the 
bootleg wall, had also, it seemed, enmeshed him in a 
web of petty annoyances and troubles, from which he 
was powerless to extricate himself. 

Clinging precariously to the wall, which more than 
five hundred men had tried to climb with fatal con- 
sequences, he was defiant: 

"I'm not afraid of anybody." 

And philosophical: 

"I never had a number until they picked me up in 
Philadelphia for carrying a gun and gave me a year, 
not for carrying the gun, but because my name's Ca- 
pone.'* 

348 



AL CAPONE 

After an absence of ten months he was again seated at 
his mahogany desk in the spacious offices in the Lexing- 
ton Hotel, 2135 South Michigan Avenue, the G.H.Q. 
having been moved from the Metropole. At his right 
was a French 'phone, which rang incessantly. In front 
of him was a gold-encrusted inkstand and a stack of mail 
a foot high. 

"Letters," he explained. "Bugs and business." 

Looking down on the inkstand were the pictures of 
two prominent wets — George Washington and William 
Hale Thompson. A beautifully carved Chinese chest 
stood hard by; above it a clock of intricate mechanism, 
with a quail to sound the quarter hours, and a cuckoo 
the hours. Al was in an expansive mood, discussing him- 
self candidly. To quote verbatim: 

"All I ever did was to sell beer and whiskey to our 
best people. All I ever did was to supply a demand that 
was pretty popular. Why, the very guys that make my 
trade good are the ones that yell loudest about me. Some 
of the leading judges use the stuff. 

"They talk about me not being on the legitimate. 
Nobody's on the legit. You know that and so do they. 
Your brother or your father gets in a jam. What do you 
do? Do you sit back and let him go over the road, with- 
out trying to help him? You'd be a yellow dog if you 
did. Nobody's really on the legit when it comes down 
to cases. 

"The funny part of the whole thing is that a man in 
this line of business has so much company. I mean his 
customers. If people did not want beer and wouldn't 
drink it, a fellow would be crazy for going around try- 
ing to sell it. 

349 



AL CAPONE 

"I've seen gambling houses, too, in my travels, you 
understand, and I never saw anyone point a gun at a 
man and make him go in. 

"I never heard of anyone being forced to go to a 
place to have some fun. I have read in the newspapers, 
though, of bank cashiers being put in cars, with pistols 
stuck in their slats, and taken to the bank, where they 
had to open the vault for the fellow with the gun. 

"It really looks like taking a drink was worse than 
robbing a bank. Maybe I'm wrong. Maybe it is. 

"People come here from out of town, and they expect 
when they're traveling around, having a good time, that 
they will take a little drink, or maybe go to a night club. 
They had better not get caught at it, because if they 
are — in the jug and see the judge the next morning." 

Capone, his whereabouts page-one speculation for 
four days, had appeared at the detective bureau with 
his attorney, Mr. Nash, at 1:30 o'clock Friday after- 
noon, to inquire as to the hue and cry. Stege didn't want 
him, it seemed, Captain John Egan, chief of detectives, 
escorted him over to State's Attorney Swanson's office. 
He didn't want him. Neither did United States District 
Attorney Johnson. Later, perhaps, but not now. 

"It's kind of hard trying to find out who wants me," 
mildly observed Al, as the afternoon waned. 

Nobody wanted him, but the police had said boo. 

Al was understanding: 

"Egan couldn't help it; Stege couldn't help it. If they 
had let me come in and go about my business, there 
would have been plenty of people saying they were 
afraid of me. I made it easy for them. I was willing to 

350 



AL CAPONE 

face any charge anyone had to make, and come to find 
out, there wasn't any." 

The bogey-man phase of Capone, largely a post-prison 
development, cast him in the role of archvillain in a 
miscellany of plots, schemes, and rackets. He was ac- 
cused of pretty nearly every sinister activity of under- 
world origin. In all of which there was some truth, some 
politics, considerable hysteria, and an admission by the 
authorities of their inability to cope with Capone the 
problem. A few examples : 

1. Capone was effecting a new gang combine. He had 
made peace with Joseph Aiello, now head of the Unione 
Sicilione. They were promoting a gambling syndicate 
of the city's bookmakers — some 5,000 — who handle 
both horse-race and dog- track betting. Complete protec- 
tion and immunity guaranteed. 

2. Capone was maneuvering to establish himself as 
the Mussolini of organized labor. Already, among 
others, he dominated the Plumbers' Union, the Street 
Sweepers' Union, the Newsboys' Union, the City Hall 
Clerks' Union and the Marble Setters' Union. 

3. Capone was ambitious to build a political machine 
and was seeking to wrest City Hall patronage from 
aldermen and members of the mayor's cabinet family. 
He was back of a proposal to appoint his henchman, 
City Sealer Daniel A. Serritella, city superintendent of 
streets — thus giving him control of an annual budget of 
$7,000,000, 3,000 jobs, and the supervision of $5,000,- 
000 a year in street repair work. He was author of an 
ordinance to create a plumbers' bureau, which would 
have put an additional 1,200 jobs at his disposal. Ser- 

351 



AL CAPONE 

ritella, in the April primary of 1930 had been reelected 
Republican committeeman of the First Ward, and had 
won the nomination of State senator over Adolph Marks, 
incumbent. The First, by the way, was the only ward in 
Chicago that returned a majority for United States 
Senator Deneen, in his losing contest with Ruth Hanna 
McCormick. Otherwise, Mrs. McCormick, a dry, was 
supported in the city and county by the "wetter than 
the middle of the Atlantic" Thompson-Crowe organiza- 
tion. 

4. Easter Sunday three men were shot to death by 
a lone pistoleer in a speakeasy at 2900 South Wells 
Street — Walter L. Wakefield and Frank Delre, pro- 
prietors, and Joseph Special, waiter. Capone men, said 
the police; either politics or a labor feud. Wakefield had 
lined up the vote for Serritella at the primary election; 
Wakefield also had tried to muscle in on the Pie Wagon 
Drivers' Union, in accordance with Capone's design to 
be the big boss of organized labor. 

"They've hung everything on me except the Chicago 
fire," was Al's retort. 

The Chicago Crime Commission issued a blast pro- 
claiming him and twenty-seven lesser booze gangsters 
"public enemies," and demanding that they be "treated 
accordingly." Tall words, but familiar through much 
repetition. 

Frank Nitti of his executive staff had been indicted 
for failure to report a net income of $742,887.81 for 
1925, 1926, and 1927. 

Down in balmy Florida, Governor Doyle E. Carlton 
had notified each of the sixty-seven sheriffs of the State: 

"It is reported that Al Capone is on his way to 

352 



AL CAPONE 

Florida. Arrest promptly if he comes your way, and 
escort him to the State border. He cannot remain in 
Florida. If you need additional assistance call me." 

The spectacle of the sixty-seven embattled sheriffs 
on guard to protect the playground commonwealth 
from our fellow townsman is as distinctly Gilbert and 
Sullivan as Warden Smith's skit at Eastern Peniten- 
tiary. 

Al again put himself in the hands of his friends, the 
members of the bar. Attorneys J. F. Cordon and Vin- 
cent Giblin of Miami obtained a temporary injunction 
from Federal Judge Halsted L. Ritter, restraining the 
sheriffs from "seizing, arresting, kidnaping or abusing 
the plaintiff, Alphonse Capone." and he was enabled 
to return to his Palm Island villa. The injunction was 
eventually made permanent. 

His chief gunner's mate, Jack McGurn, of the 
twenty-two odd notches, had been unceremoniously 
dragged off a Miami golf links by the police and jailed. 
They evidently were prejudiced by an incident that had 
occurred some weeks previously. Ernest Byfield, the 
hotel man, revealed it to Ashton Stevens, the dramatic 
critic and columnist, and Stevens labeled it, "the best 
Al Capone story of the season." To quote: 

"Ernest Byfield is back from Miami. . . . Mr. By- 
field and Mr. Capone occupy adjacent islands near 
Miami Beach, the hotel baron's Florida home being the 
isle called Hibiscus and the estate of the Chicago un- 
derworld overlord being on an isle named Palm. 

"Well, workmen employed on Hibiscus recently ran 
with blanched faces to the contractor who employed 
them, and who is Mr. Byfield's next-door neighbor, 

353 



AL CAPONE 

avowing that they were being peppered with bullets by 
invisible marksmen. 

" 'Nonsense,' said the contractor — till they showed 
him the bullets. Then he got out his field glasses and 
... a merry band of machine gunners on Palm Island 
[were] shooting from the Capone place at empty pop 
bottles floating in the water. They were practicing in 
Florida the pastime that has done its bit to make Cook 
County famous. 

"The contractor hastily informed the Miami Beach 
police that the Capone gang were shooting up the land 
and seascape with machine guns. The police depart- 
ment went into a clinch with itself. The outcome was 
that its chief telephoned the machine gunners and asked 
them — very politely — if they would not please find 
another direction and range." 

McGurn's presence at their favorite spa outraged 
the civic patriotism of three distinguished and emi- 
nently broad-minded Chicagoans — Albert D. Lasker, 
former chairman of the United States Shipping Board, 
John D. Hertz, founder of the Yellow Cab Company, 
and Charles A. McCullough, president of the Parmelee 
Transfer Company. Deputy Commissioner Stege re- 
ceived peremptory notification via telegraph that it was 
their wish that McGurn be kept at home. Stege immedi- 
ately sent Detectives John Howe and William Drury 
down to bring him back. 

The stern city fathers of Miami had solemnly de- 
creed, in effect: 

"Here's your hat, Al ; don't slam the door." 

Tourists were getting timorous. Business men were 

354 



AL CAPONE 

kicking at Miami's reputation as "the Cicero of the 
East Coast." 

"And all I've ever done in Miami/' said Capone, 
"was to spend my money there." 

So did an ungrateful public bite the hand that fed it. 

Poor little rich boy — the Horatio Alger lad of pro- 
hibition — the gamin from the sidewalks of New York, 
who made good in a Big Shot way in Chicago — General 
Al the Scar face, who won the war to make the world 
safe for public demand — Volstead 's King for a Day — 
creature of the strangest, craziest fate, in the strangest, 
craziest era of American history. 

The story ends — unfinished, like his life — the red 
thread still unspun by the gods amuck. 

"... you never know when the light's going sud- 
denly out. . . ." 

The story ends — and there he stands — waiting, 
watching, wondering . . . 

The moving trigger-finger writes . . . 



35S